Charles City Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting may seem like a relatively minor offense, but if convicted, you may have a difficult time restoring your reputation and could face fines and potentially even jail time. Unfortunately, shoplifting charges—whether misdemeanor or felony—can be difficult to understand and effectively contest.

Shoplifting charges vary in severity, and it can be imperative to understand exactly what you are being charged with before coming up with a legal strategy with or without representation from a defense attorney. Fortunately, with help from the right Charles City shoplifting lawyer, you may be able to more effectively defend yourself and pursue a positive resolution to your case.

Defining Shoplifting

Considered a property crime in the state of Virginia, shoplifting is prosecuted in a manner similar to larceny charges. Code of Virginia §18.2-103 defines shoplifting as taking goods or services belonging to someone else without paying the full price or by defrauding the owner of the good or service. It further defines the crime as:

  • Willfully concealing or taking possession of the merchandise of any store or mercantile establishment
  • Aiding or abetting another person in the act of shoplifting or taking merchandise with paying the full price
  • Altering a price tag or marker on a good or service to avoid paying full price
  • Transferring a shoplifted good from one container to another

If the value of the merchandise is less than $500, the alleged offender would be charged with petit larceny. If the value of the merchandise is $500 or more, they would be charged with grand larceny.

As mentioned above, a person can even be charged if they are with someone shoplifting, even if they are unaware the person stole. By law, they could be charged with aiding or abetting the shoplifter, meaning they may need to talk to a Charles City shoplifting attorney about their own criminal defense.

Penalties for Shoplifting

Shoplifting can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the allegedly stolen item(s). Theft laws in Virginia are slightly stricter than those in other states, so those facing theft charges are typically subject to harsher penalties.

In many states, a person can only be guilty of grand larceny if they steal property valued at $1,000 or more, but in Virginia, the limit is $500. Those convicted of grand larceny can face up to 20 years in prison as well.

Petit larceny carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a potential fine of up to $2,500. As is the case with other offenses, those with existing criminal records usually face harsher penalties than first-time offenders.

To make matters worse, a shoplifting conviction can have long-term effects even beyond criminal punishments. A felony conviction can prevent a person from voting, finding a job, or securing housing, and educational opportunities may also be limited for convicted felons. Accordingly, it may be wise for those charged shoplifting to hire a shoplifting lawyer in Charles City sooner rather than later.

Contact a Charles City Shoplifting Today for Legal Advice

If you are currently facing shoplifting charges, you have reason to be concerned. Your freedom and reputation are on the line, and if you attempt to represent yourself, you may struggle to effectively defend yourself and your best interests.

However, by working with a skilled attorney, you may have a better chance at a positive outcome. Contact a Charles City shoplifting lawyer if you are ready to fight for your future.

Charles City Theft Lawyer