Facing a grand larceny charge in Virginia is certainly no fun, but recent changes in the law have made things a little easier for some people. Recently, the Virginia grand larceny threshold was raised from $500 to $1000, meaning that you will be charged with the lesser crime of petit larceny if your theft is below $1000. I'll tell you more below about the types of punishment you can expect for a grand larceny charge, and when a Prince William County larceny lawyer may be able to help. If you find yourself in need of legal assistance after a larceny charge, Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. handles these types of cases frequently, so don't hesitate to reach out.
What is Considered Larceny in Virginia?
Under Virginia law, any occasion where one party unlawfully takes property that belongs to someone else with the intent to deprive the owner of what is rightfully theirs is considered larceny. Shoplifting, stealing money or property from a business or individual, or destroying public records, and embezzlement are some examples of crimes that can be classified as theft.
What is the Difference Between Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny?
Different classifications of larceny are assigned based on the value of the stolen property or money, as well as the type of property that has been stolen. Petit larceny, the lowest level of theft under Virginia law, is reserved for theft of money or property valued under $1000, or under $5 if the theft is directly from another person. Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means it carries up to 12 months in jail, up to a $2500 fine, or both. It will also go on your criminal record permanently, and in Virginia getting crimes expunged (aka, removed from your record) is difficult if not impossible, under certain circumstances. That means that finding a job, renting a home, successfully getting through a security clearance process or applying to college could be difficult.
Grand larceny, on the other hand, occurs when the stolen property is valued at over $1000, or $5 or more when taken directly from another person. It also applies to any case where a firearm is stolen, regardless of its value.
Is Grand Larceny a Felony or a Misdemeanor in Virginia?
As of July 1, 2020, the Virginia grand larceny threshold increased to $1000. Any larceny valued at under $1000 is considered a misdemeanor (although this can still seriously impact your life, as I mentioned above). The punishment for felony larceny is even stiffer, and can involve at least one year, but up to 20 years in prison.
In addition, in cases of shoplifting, the offender can face civil penalties for twice the retail value of the merchandise, or $50, whichever is greater. If, however, the store owner is able to recover the merchandise and it is in good enough condition to be sold, the penalty will not exceed $350. Additionally, second repeat offenders will be punished by a jail sentence of at least 30 days, but no more than 12 months, in addition to up to a $2,500 fine.
It is sometimes possible that if the offender does not have a criminal record and the property value of what they stole was only slightly above the threshold, their charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor, but this can be complicated and likely requires help from a Prince William County larceny lawyer. A third or subsequent larceny offense also automatically becomes a Class 6 felony, which carries a statutory range of punishment of one to five years imprisonment, as well as a felony on your criminal record. A felony on your record will prevent you from getting many jobs, and can leave you in a precarious situation.
Do I Need a Larceny Lawyer?
If you are facing larceny charges, working with a Prince William County larceny attorney may be in your best interests. As a longtime Northern Virginia criminal defense firm, Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. has defended the rights of many people in the Prince William County area and beyond. John Kassabian believes that everyone deserves a fair trial, regardless of the crime.
Call him today for a free consultation at 703-750-3622.