Colonial Heights Theft Lawyer 

When many people think of theft, their minds drift towards shoplifting. While this is certainly the most common example of a theft-related crime, Virginia’s laws concerning theft cover a far broader range of topics. These can range from large-scale burglary rings to the receipt of stolen goods.

Even the smallest cases of theft are serious matters that can result in jail time and significant fines. A Colonial Heights theft lawyer can represent you in your fight against theft charges in Virginia’s criminal courts. Regardless of the exact nature of the allegations, a qualified criminal defense attorney is here to help.

Theft Laws in Virginia

There is no singular law known as theft in Virginia’s statutes. Instead, there is a collection of statutes that aim to punish people convicted of stealing in any number of ways. Perhaps the most common example of these is VA Code 18.2-103: the concealment or taking possession of merchandise. While this is not specifically labeled as shoplifting, the definition is essentially the same.

This law aims to punish people who willfully conceal items with the intent of stealing them, or who alter price tags with the intent of not paying full price. It is important to note here that a person does not actually need to remove the item from the store for this statute to apply. It is merely the act of concealing the item or altering the tag, that constitutes the theft.

This theft offense, as with all others, is punished in accordance with the value of the item alleged to have been stolen, and accused individuals may be in need of a Colonial Heights theft lawyer. For items valued at less than $500, this is considered a petit larceny. For all values above $500, the crime is considered grand larceny.

Grand Larceny

Grand larceny is the more serious of Virginia’s theft laws. VA Code 18.2-95 states that grand larceny is when a person steals money or an item valued at $5 or more directly off a person, steals an item valued at $500 or more not directly off a person or steals a firearm.

The statute continues to state that punishment upon conviction carries a required jail term of not less than one year with a maximum term of 20 years. Additionally, a fine of up to $2,500.00 may be imposed.

Petit Larceny

Petit larceny is the lesser of Virginia’s theft statutes. Petit larceny is defined as the taking of money or an item valued at less than $5 off a person, or the taking of property of less than $500 not directly on a person.

This is classified as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. These crimes are punishable by a maximum term of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Defending Against Charges of Theft

When a person is charged with a theft crime in Virginia, the prosecutor must prove that not only did the person actually steal the item but that they intended to do so. This may seem like a technicality, but many cases are decided on this issue.

For example, a defendant may claim that when they took an item out of their neighbor’s garage, that they mistook it for an item that they owned. While this may be in poor taste and a situation where a simple conversation may have sufficed, it would be stretching the definition of larceny to consider this a criminal act.

Consulting a Colonial Heights Theft Attorney

Colonial Heights theft lawyers work to protect the rights and freedoms of people accused of larceny every day. They understand how the theft laws work in Virginia and examine every piece of evidence in the case to protect accused individuals.

Consequences for a theft conviction can include mandatory jail time, stiff fines, and a mark on a person’s criminal record. Do not take any unnecessary chances, contact a Colonial Heights theft attorney today.

Colonial Heights Theft Lawyer