Petit Larceny Virginia

If you’ve been arrested for petit larceny in Virginia, look for a skilled lawyer in Fairfax, VA, like Gretchen Taylor Pousson of Scrofano Law, PC. for help.

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What Is Petit Larceny in Virginia?

In Virginia, petty theft is legally referred to as petit or petty larceny. One key factor to distinguish between petit larceny and grand larceny in Virginia is the value of the items stolen.

Typically, if the stolen items have a low monetary value, they fall under the petit larceny category. However, it’s essential to note that in some cases, even if the stolen item has a small value, it may be treated as grand larceny if the items are stolen directly from the person.

This distinction helps in understanding the legal framework of Virginia petit larceny and its consequences upon conviction. Penalties for petit larceny can range can include restitution, fines, and mandatory jail time.

If you are accused of petit larceny in Virginia, it is crucial to seek assistance from a skilled lawyer. Petit larceny attorneys at Scrofano Law, PC, can provide legal guidance and ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Virginia’s Petit Larceny Statute

Petit larceny is provided for in Virginia Code section 18.2-96. According to this statute, petit larceny is committed when a person:

  • Takes money or something of value worth less than $5 directly from another person or

  • Commits simple larceny by taking any goods or animals valued at less than $1,000 but not from the person

When someone commits larceny, they unlawfully take an item directly from a person’s body or belongings, including pickpocketing or snatching belongings like necklaces or wallets. If the stolen property is worth more than $5, it is classified as grand larceny. For instance, even taking an empty wallet valued at $5 or more from someone’s pocket can be considered grand larceny.

It is essential to note that stealing a firearm is automatically classified as grand larceny in Virginia, regardless of the firearm’s monetary value. This underscores the seriousness with which firearm theft is regarded under Virginia law.

Shoplifting is also addressed in Virginia theft laws. Under Virginia Code §18.2-103, shoplifting is defined as “concealing or taking possession of merchandise.” Shoplifting or altering price tags on goods is classified as petit larceny if the merchandise’s value is less than $1,000, but it becomes grand larceny when the value exceeds $1,000.

Seek legal counsel from our team at Scrofano Law, PC, when facing theft-related criminal charges. We can protect your rights and work to get your charges dropped or reduced.

Penalties for Petit Larceny

Penalties for petit larceny and shoplifting offenses vary depending on several elements, including the defendant’s criminal record and the case’s specific circumstances. Generally, petit larceny and shoplifting stolen property valued at less than $1,000 are classified as Class 1 misdemeanors under Virginia larceny statutes.

A Class 1 misdemeanor may carry the following penalties:

  • Maximum punishment of up to 12 months in jail: Convicted individuals may face a maximum sentence of twelve months in a state correctional facility.
  • A fine of up to $2,500: In addition to potential jail time, a fine not exceeding $2,500 may be imposed.
  • Combined penalties: Depending on the case’s specifics, the court can impose both jail time and fines for theft-related offenses.
  • Additional costs: You may be liable for court costs of the criminal proceedings. If the victim sues you in civil court, you may be liable for damages, court costs, and attorney fees.
  • Restitution: The court may order you to pay back the value of the stolen goods.
  • Restrictions: Individuals convicted of shoplifting may also face bans from the premises where the offense occurred.
  • Long-term consequences: Beyond immediate penalties, a petit larceny conviction on record can have lasting negative effects on future employment opportunities, college prospects, and scholarship opportunities for the convicted individual.

Potential Defenses for Petit Larceny Charges

To secure a conviction for petit larceny in Virginia, the prosecutor must establish certain crucial elements beyond any reasonable doubt. For an individual to be deemed guilty, the prosecutor must prove the following key components of the offense:

  • Wrongful taking: It must be demonstrated that the accused unlawfully took an item.

  • Absence of consent: It must be established that the owner did not consent for the accused to take the item.

  • Intent to deprive: Finally, it must be shown that the accused intended to permanently strip the owner of the item.

When charged with petit larceny in Virginia, several potential defenses can be explored in consultation with your attorney. Your criminal defense lawyer will meticulously examine your case, review all available evidence, and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific situation. Possible defenses in a petit larceny case may include:

  • Mistaken identity: If there is doubt about the accused’s identity as the perpetrator, this can be a valid defense.

  • Ownership claim: Demonstrating that the goods in question actually belonged to the defendant can undermine the prosecution’s case.

  • Proof of payment: Providing evidence that the defendant legitimately paid for the property can be a compelling defense.

  • Unintentional placement: If someone else placed the merchandise in the defendant’s bag without their knowledge or consent, this can be a strong defense.

  • Intent to pay: If the defendant can prove that they genuinely intended to pay for the merchandise, this can mitigate their culpability.

  • Illegal search and seizure: Challenging the legality of how evidence was obtained, such as through an unlawful search and seizure, can result in excluding such evidence from the case.

Petit Larceny Statute of Limitations

The Virginia statute of limitations for criminal offenses sets a time limit for when petit larceny charges can be brought against an individual. The prosecution must bring petit larceny charges against you within five years.

An expired statute of limitations may also be a solid defense strategy.

How Our Team at Scrofano Law PC Can Help You

If you are facing petit larceny charges in Virginia, don’t risk your freedom and financial well-being by opting for self-representation. Scrofano Law, PC, is here to provide the experienced legal counsel you need. Our dedicated team of attorneys understands the intricacies of Virginia’s petit larceny laws and can build a strong defense tailored to your unique circumstances.

Contact Scrofano Law, PC, and let us stand by your side throughout this challenging time. Your future matters, and we’re here to fight for it. Call us now to schedule your free consultation.


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Charles Graves

I hired Gretchen Taylor over 10 years ago, when I was very young and she successfully defended me from a false allegation.

Now I’m very successful in life, and I have to give Gretchen a ton of credit for her help! She is extremely honest, hardworking, kind, and sees the best in people. She believed in me, and she’s also a very good lawyer.

Through this process I grew up, and I learned that there are good and bad women, good and bad men, and that it’s important to be careful about who you associate with, or hang around or date, because even when you live your life with honesty and integrity, some people are simply trouble. Thanks to this, I’ve been happily married to my amazing wife for almost a decade now, and successful financially. Gretchen didn’t only win my case but she really had good wisdom for me too. She’s very knowledgeable about the law and doesn’t let the system take advantage of you.,

You won’t find a better lawyer, period!

Iracely Pinto

I just wanted to thank Mrs. Taylor for representing me at the Courthouse! She was great dealing with the people there and defended me well with professionalism, courage, and confidence. From the moment I spoke with her over the phone, I knew she was the right Attorney to represent me and defende me from an angry Police Officer who charged me with reckless driving and 2 others tickets. All was unfair and not true. She was just amazing at the Courtroom, and what was supposed to take hours, it just took less than 30 minutes. All the charges against me was dismissed and my record was clear. Thank you God for Mrs. Gretchen Taylor and for her help and for her great experience and dedication towards myself. I highly recommend Mrs. Taylor to anyone in need of a Lawyer.

Deb Obi

Gretchen was a joy to work with because of her wittiness and fast thinking. She was actually recommended to me by another Lawyer who admired the way she handled things in a courtroom they were both in.

Her advice, encouragement, and patience with me as she handled my case was admirable. She knows her stuff and I felt confident that she was able to get the best outcome for my case based on my interactions with her. Her fast thinking and knowledge of the law and procedures allowed for my case to be dismissed. She is fast on her feet, ready to fight for you while being poised.

If you are looking for someone who is going to listen to you, knows the law, willing to fight on your behalf and is empathetic while at it, please go with Gretchen. You will not regret it.

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