Larceny Defense Attorney Fairfax
Virginia common law defines larceny as a taking with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the item. Virginia statutes classify larceny as “petit” if the item is taken from a person and is worth less than $5.00, or if the item is not taken from a person and is worth less than $200. “Grand” larceny involves the taking of an item from a person worth $5.00 or more, or the taking of an item not from a person worth more than $200, or the taking of a firearm of any value. Petit larceny is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 12 months in jail and/or a $2500 fine. Grand larceny is a felony punishable by one to twenty years in jail or 12 months in jail and/or a $2500 fine.
Some counties in Virginia offer first time offender programs for shoplifting type charges. These programs often involve community service, completion of an educational course, payment of restitution, fines, and court costs, and a period of general good behavior. If all requirements of the program are completed, the charge is dismissed after a certain period of time.
Additionally, Virginia has a “concealment” statute which provides that any person who, with the intent to convert merchandise to their own use without paying for it, willfully conceals merchandise, alters a price tag or transfers goods from one container to another, or helps another person do any of these things, is guilty of petit larceny if the value of the item is less than $200 or grand larceny if the value of the item is $200 or more. This means you don’t have to leave the store with an item to be guilty of larceny, it is enough to hide an item or change the price tag.
Embezzlement is a similar crime which involves taking money or property entrusted to an individual by virtue of his employment or position of trust. Proof of embezzlement is sufficient to sustain a charge of larceny with the aforementioned punishments based on the amount of money or value of property taken. Most embezzlement cases arise in an employment context. These cases differ from regular larceny because the money or property is not unlawfully taken, it is lawfully in the person’s possession but is then used improperly.
Larceny crimes carry stiff penalties and are considered crimes of “moral turpitude” which can carry immigration consequences for defendants who are not US citizens, and can have life changing effects on employment, education, and financial opportunities for those who are US citizens. It is important to have a skilled attorney on your side to ensure that you receive the best outcome under the particular circumstances of your case.