Henrico County Shoplifting Lawyer
In Henrico County, a shopkeeper, merchant, or store employee has the legal right to detain you for up to one hour if there is any reason to believe you shoplifted items. Virginia Code establishes this right in cases where there is a probable cause of theft. When police arrive, you could be arrested for petit or grand larceny, depending upon the value of the items you allegedly took. Both offenses could result in incarceration.
A Henrico County shoplifting lawyer can help you to understand possible penalties for shoplifting offenses and can assist you in responding to the criminal charges that you face.
In the state of Virginia, someone can be charged with a shoplifting offense for taking goods or services that do not belong to them without paying. They can be charged for attempting to take items even if they do not succeed. Under code section 18.2-103, they may also be charged for altering price tags, moving goods from one container to another, or helping someone else to shoplift. A person who assists in a shoplifting offense can face the same criminal penalties as the individual who actually stole the items.
The penalties for the shoplifter as well as all accomplices are determined by the value of the goods stolen, whether they have a record of prior offenses, and whether the items were stolen with the intent to distribute or resell them. For example:
- Code section 18.2-96 defines petit or simple larceny as a misdemeanor with potential penalties of up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500. Someone can be charged with this offense if they stole, or helped to steal, goods or services valued up to $200.00.
- Code section 18.2-104 addresses repeat offenses of petit larceny. If they are convicted of a second theft offense, they will spend a minimum of 30 days in jail, regardless of whether their first offense was a misdemeanor or a felony. They could go to jail for up to a year. The prior offense may have been committed in any state. For a third offense or subsequent offense, they will be charged with a class 6 felony.
- Code section 18.2-95 defines grand larceny as a felony offense. They can be charged with this offense if they stole a firearm, no matter what its value was, or if they stole goods or services valued at higher than $200. The potential penalties for this offense can include probation up to two decades in prison.
- Code section 18.2-108.01 addresses involvement with stolen property. If someone steals property with the intent to sell or distribute it, they can go to jail for not less than two years and up to twenty years. Because there is a mandatory minimum sentence, they will spend time in prison if convicted. They can also be charged with this crime if they try to sell any property they are aware is stolen, even if they are not the one who took it.
Anytime someone takes, or attempts to take, items without paying full price and without the consent of the owner, they could find themselves arrested and charged with shoplifting. They will be arraigned, and they will need to decide how to plead. They will need to argue for bail, and they could be convicted and forced to spend time behind bars. For these reasons, they may want to be proactive in responding to the charges. A Henrico County shoplifting lawyer can represent someone as they deal with their case.
Working with a Shoplifting Lawyer
A shoplifting attorney in Henrico County can help you to:
- Negotiate a plea bargain. You may be able to avoid jail time, reduce your sentence, and even reduce the charges if the prosecutor agrees, and you plead guilty.
- Raise defenses. An attorney can argue issues of intent and knowledge, among other defenses.
- Raise doubts. If reasonable doubt can be established at trial it can be used to avoid a conviction.
It is a good idea to call a Henrico County shoplifting lawyer as soon as you can when you have been charged with a shoplifting offense, so you will have an advocate looking out for your interests.