Felony Theft in Richmond

A person who takes property or money valued at $500 or more can be charged with felony theft in Richmond. Felony theft is a serious offense in Virginia. If someone is facing these charges, they will want to consult a dedicated and knowledgeable theft attorney right away.

A skilled lawyer can assist you in challenging the allegations and charges. They can review the evidence and determine the best defense strategy. Based on their experience and knowledge, an attorney can make a difference in your case. There are several benefits to consulting an experienced defense lawyer who understands the differences between a misdemeanor and felony theft in Richmond.

Elements of Felony Theft

In every step, the first thing you are going to need to have is a taking, then the taking must be done with an intent to permanently deprive the owner or possessor of the thing that is being taken. Lastly, the item was taken, or the money was taken, must be worth more than $500, have a value of more than $500 or be $20 or more.

Misdemeanor Robbery

The main difference between felony theft and misdemeanor theft is the value threshold. So, the $500 threshold separates a misdemeanor from a felony. There is also another situation where a person can ultimately be charged with a felony theft where there is not going to be simply a $500 threshold.

This includes something called a compound felony, in which a person has multiple misdemeanor thefts that they have been convicted of. If an individual has two misdemeanor thefts on their record, then a third or subsequent theft can then be charged as a classic felony. Essentially, a felony theft is going to be the $500 threshold or his or her criminal history or record with two or more misdemeanor thefts.

Penalties and Consequences

A misdemeanor theft is a Class One misdemeanor. It carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. While a felony theft, if convicted, a person could be looking at up to 20 years in jail and it is classified as an undefined felony, and a person can get up to 20 years in jail as opposed to a misdemeanor which only carries 12 months.

Scenarios that Could Elevate the Charge to a Felonious Degree

The first way is if the item or items were taken, or the value of those items turns out to be $500 or more. An example is if someone steals something and at the time this theft occurs, the Commonwealth does not know the value of the item, or does not know how many items were taken and, for one reason or another, is not able at the time of the crime to determine what the actual value of the items taken or money was.

At that time, they may charge a person with a misdemeanor, but they cannot, at the time, show value. However, at some point in the future, if they are able to figure out what the value is and is more than $500, then the misdemeanor may increase to a felony. If a person is charged with taking more than five dollars from an individual, then that can take a misdemeanor theft to a felony.

A misdemeanor may be changed to a felony when there is a ‘petty larceny third’. And, essentially, that is when a person has more than two petty larceny convictions or misdemeanor theft convictions already on his or her record, and any subsequent theft or larceny conviction can be charged with a felony no matter the value.

Building a Defense

There are several critical steps an attorney will take while building a strong defense case. The lawyer will want to speak with the individual, get as much information as they can in order to thoroughly understand the theft situation. It is important that the person prepares all of the knowledge and evidence for their attorney.

A knowledgeable lawyer will want to know: the who, what, when, where, how and sometimes, if there will be a defense of an accident or mistake, and why this happened. From there, the lawyer will use the information to help guide the investigation and guide the defenses.

Concerning theft cases, a defense lawyer wants more information, to know more about the case, the background of the case, what the officers have done, what the person has done, what the witnesses have seen, et cetera. A lawyer is going to want as much as information as possible. The lawyer wants more information than anybody else in the courtroom and that is ultimately what is going to guide the way in which the lawyer defends the case. But the first thing the lawyer is going to want to do is information-gathering, investigating, and speaking with the person to get a thorough understanding of the situation.

Consulting an Attorney

With any charge, a person will want an attorney who is experienced; someone who knows how to handle that particular charge knows the defenses, knows the best way to present those defenses to the judge and/or jury.

For a situation where it will take some negotiating in order to either lessen the charge or to come up with an outcome beneficial to you, you are going to want someone who knows the law, knows the facts and knows the proper way in which to present the potential client in negotiations in order to have the best possible outcome. It is essential that you have your case evaluated by an experienced theft attorney. They can determine the best course of action.