Colonial Heights Shoplifting Lawyer 

Being detained by a grocery store manager or a mall security officer under suspicion of having shoplifted an item can be more serious than it first seems. Although shoplifting is a common offense, being accused of shoplifting should not be taken lightly as it can have dire legal implications.

Shoplifting is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia and if convicted, will be placed on your permanent criminal record. If you have been accused of shoplifting in or around Colonial Heights, consult an experienced lawyer with a background in shoplifting cases. He or she can properly evaluate your situation and help you find a solution.

How a Colonial Heights Criminal Lawyer Can Help

Virginia Courts take shoplifting and generally theft very seriously. An individual can get charged with shoplifting without even leaving the store or without actually taking anything. Hire a Colonial Heights shoplifting lawyer who will analyze the circumstances behind a shoplifting charge and help an accused person explore all their options in order to minimize the consequences of that charge. This can range from challenging prosecution’s evidence and witnesses, to negotiating plea agreements that can result in a reduction or possible dismissal of your charge. Our attorneys understand how overwhelming criminal charges can be and have the qualifications and practical knowledge to safeguard your rights.

Shoplifting Defined

Under Virginia’s Criminal Code, shoplifting is considered larceny and has a separate statute that can make prosecuting a shoplifting charge easier than other theft charges. Virginia Code Section 18.2-103 defines the act of shoplifting as:

  1. Hiding, concealing, or taking merchandise in a store;
  2. Altering the price tag or other price marking on merchandise; or,
  3. Transferring items from one container to another.

Based on the above definition, a person can be accused of shoplifting for placing an item into their pocket or purse or covering an item with a piece of clothes, all while still within the store — even if that person had intended to pay for the item upon leaving the store.

In addition, if a store owner, employee, or agent of the store has probable cause to believe that an individual intended to steal an item, they may detain that individual on the premises of the store for up to an hour while awaiting law enforcement officers.

Charges and Associated Penalties for Shoplifting

The charges and potential penalties associated with a shoplifting charge depend on the value of the goods allegedly taken and on an individual’s prior criminal record. Virginia’s Criminal Code divides a shoplifting offense into either petit or grand larceny.

Petite Larceny

If the value of the goods allegedly shoplifted are less than $500, a person will be charged with petite larceny. A petite larceny is a misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

Grand Larceny

If a person is charged with shoplifting more than $500 worth of goods, they will be charged with grand larceny. Grand larceny is a felony charge that can result in up to twenty (20) years in jail.

Contact an Experienced Attorney from Colonial Heights Today

Our legal team has extensive experience in representing individuals charged with shoplifting in Colonial Heights. A conviction for shoplifting can impair a person’s future by making activities like finding a job or renting a home more difficult. For that reason, hiring a Colonial Heights shoplifting attorney to help you face the charges will heighten your chances of dismissal or mitigation.