Richmond Theft Lawyer
Theft charges in Richmond, Virginia are a potentially serious offense that can carry anything from a fine to serious prison time. If you have been accused of larceny, robbery, shoplifting, or any other type of theft charge in Virginia contact a Richmond theft lawyer so that they may collect the facts of your case and develop the strongest possible defense for your specific situation.
Advantages of a Richmond Theft Lawyer
Being charged with theft is serious, as you could face potentially significant jail time in addition to high fines. Due to these penalties it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Richmond theft lawyer who can build a strong defense for your specific case and help you minimize the amount of harm done by the charges.
Richmond Theft Charges
The crime of theft is generally thought to be the action or crime of stealing. However, Virginia breaks theft into different categories:
Larceny was once a common law crime in Virginia, defined as an illegal taking of another’s property with the intent to permanently deprive. However, larceny has since been codified in Virginia and has been separated into two different types with differing penalties:
- Grand larceny
- Petit larceny
Virginia Code Section 18.2-95 states that a person is guilty of grand larceny if he or she steals an item or items with a value of at least $5 from another individual directly, steals items with a value $200 or more, or steals a gun.
Section 18.2-96 covers petit larceny, which occurs when a person steals an item or items worth less than $5 from another’s person, or steals less than $200 worth of items from anywhere.
Determining whether the larceny was grand or petit is important due to the varying degree of penalties. In certain cases, determining whether the theft was of an item on another’s person can impact whether you are facing a felony or misdemeanor offense, and a Richmond criminal lawyer can build a defense around those facts.
Section 18.2-96 considers petit larceny to be a class 1 misdemeanor. In Virginia, a class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by confinement in jail for up to 12 months and/or a fine not to exceed $2,500. However, that punishment can change if you have had a previous larceny conviction.
If you have been previously convicted of larceny and are facing your second charge, the penalty may increase to a minimum of 30 days in jail, with the potential to increase the confinement to 12 months, along with a fine up to $2,500.
If you have at least two prior larceny convictions it is imperative you contact a Richmond theft attorney as the penalties increase dramatically. Section 18.2-104 states that the penalty for petit larceny changes on the third offense, going from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony. In Virginia, punishment for being convicted of a class 6 felony is one to five years in prison.
While the penalty for a petit larceny conviction begins as a class 1 misdemeanor, with the potential to increase to a class 6 felony, grand larceny is a felony. Section 18.2-95 stipulates that a person found guilty of grand larceny is to face a sentence of one to 20 years in prison, or, at the court’s discretion, a lessened penalty of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
In Virginia, robbery is considered to be a more serious version of theft in that the crime includes a violent act. Therefore, if the theft was accompanied by violence (for example, choking or beating), assault (threatening violence), or showing or threatening to use a gun, the crime is likely robbery.
Robbery is a felony in Virginia as Section 18.2-58 states that the punishment can range from 5 years to life in prison. This means that if faced with a robbery charge it’s often a good idea to seek legal counsel from a Richmond theft lawyer.
Burglary differs from robbery in that it includes a breaking and entering of a home. Per Section 18.2-89, a person is guilty of burglary if he or she breaks into and enters the home of another person, at night, with the intent to steal or commit a felony. This is called common-law burglary, and the elements of the crime include specific circumstances, like that the crime occurred at nighttime. Virginia also has a law prohibiting statutory burglary, which is a broader version of the crime that includes daytime burglary, and entering without breaking (e.g., through an open window). A Richmond theft lawyer can explain the difference between these two and how they may impact the elements that the prosecution will need to prove at trial. Section 18.2-90.
Per section 18.2-89, a burglary conviction is a class 3 felony. Section 18.2-10(c) stipulates a penalty of five to 20 years in prison and, at the court’s discretion, a fine of up to $100,000.
The penalty for a burglary conviction stands to increase to a class 2 felony, which section 18.2-89 stipulates as being punishable by 20 years to life in prison and, at the court’s discretion, a fine of up to $100,000.
If you are currently facing a theft charge in Virginia contact an experienced Richmond theft lawyer today.