Richmond Shoplifting Penalties 

Shoplifting is a nuanced offense. There are instances in which a person might accidentally walk out of a store carrying something they forgot to pay for, despite having the intention to do so. Or, someone was holding onto something and still had it while in the store, but store associates may have assumed they were going to steal it. Shoplifting is taken seriously and can result in fines, jail time, and other potential penalties.  If you face Richmond shoplifting penalties, retain the services of an accomplished defense attorney who can mitigate these potential penalties.

Elements of Shoplifting

One of the major elements of shoplifting is the taking of whatever object, the person was accused of taking. However, with a shoplifting charge, the taking can be an actual taking as in physically picking an item up and carrying it away, or concealing the item with the intent to take it.

As far as shoplifting is concerned, there is not a situation where an individual actually has to physically leave a store. A person could be charged because the elements of a shoplifting are just hiding the item on a person’s person with the intent to steal it and also, it could go all the way down to switching tags on items with the intent to defraud the shopkeeper of the price of the item, whatever the case may be. It is taking or concealing the item from a store with the intent to steal it and without paying for the item.

Potential Consequences of Misdemeanor Shoplifting

Richmond shoplifting penalties are similar to the penalties larceny. An individual is going to have a wide range depending on what their criminal history is and what the value of the item or items concealed or stolen was. If an individual has an item that is concealed or stolen that is less than $500 on a first offense, this is going to carry anywhere from 0 to 12 months in jail, a fine of $2,500, and then, if an individual has damaged the item, any restitution that needs to be paid to the establishment.

On the second offense for an item that is under $500, a person is looking at a second offense petty larceny or second offense concealment. They are looking at 30 days or anywhere from 30 days to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and, once again, they are still looking at that restitution. Those would be the consequences of a misdemeanor shoplifting.

How Might the Consequences of Shoplifting Differ for Second-Time Offenders?

The low end of the crime goes from no time in jail to 30 days in jail for a misdemeanor and, on top of that, the Commonwealth is a lot less likely to be willing to negotiate the charge down or for a dismissal because a person already had a criminal history and has already been through this process once before. The court is less likely to not give a person jail sentence or to waive jail time because they are a frequent prior and have been in front of the court numerous times or at least one time before for the same, exact charge. The resultant Richmond shoplifting penalties might be more severe for someone the court considers a repeat offender.

Shoplifting as a Felony

Similarly to larceny, if an individual has two or more crimes considered to be larceny on their record—they do not all have to be necessarily shoplifting. If a person has one grand larceny or one petty larceny, if a person has one false pretense and one petty larceny or embezzlement and a larceny, any individual who has two or more previous convictions on their criminal history of a larceny charge or something defined as larceny and is described as larceny in the Virginia Code—upon receiving a subsequent shoplifting charge, that charge can be and probably will be something  called a Petty Larceny III where it is going to be a felony offense up from a misdemeanor even if the value of the item was under $500.

Once a person has that Petty Larceny III, they are looking at a Class 6 felony that carries anywhere from no time in jail to up to five years in jail and a fine of $2,500. For the standard grand larcenies, concealing or stealing things that are more than $500 is a Class 2 felony, with up to 20 years in jail.

Benefit of an Attorney

When facing Richmond shoplifting penalties, the assistance of a dedicated theft attorney is of the utmost importance. A local lawyer will have knowledge of existing theft policies and penalties and can use that information while building your case. Contact an attorney if you have been charged with shoplifting, and you can be confident that they will fight for you.