What to Expect From a
Theft Case in Virginia

Criminal charges can be scary. If you need to know what to expect from a theft case in Virginia, contact Scrofano Law PC. Call us for resources and advice!

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Facing Theft Crimes Charges


Virginia has three forms of larceny: theft by taking, theft by receiving stolen property, and theft by deceiving someone into believing they are getting something else.

In general, Virginia’s theft laws are different from other states in the US. First-time offenses of Virginia’s three forms of larceny could result in a Class 1 misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses would result in a Class 6 felony.

Knowing what to expect from the legal process is essential if you’re facing theft charges. In spite of the charge of a felony or a misdemeanor offense, a Virginia criminal lawyer can help you avoid a grand larceny conviction.

What Happens Before and During a Theft Trial?


In the early stages of a theft crime case, the rules and procedures for grand jury indictments will likely apply. The prosecutor will present your case to a grand jury and ask them to vote on whether the case should go forward.

If the grand jury indicts you for theft, you’ll have an arraignment hearing in court. At this point, you can negotiate with prosecutors about a plea agreement or prepare for trial.

Trials in Virginia courts give you a chance to present your case before a judge or jury. A trial involves calling witnesses and presenting evidence to support your position.

Once the trial is over, the jury or judge will decide whether you’re guilty. Depending on the trial’s outcome, you could be sentenced to prison, fines, community service, or a prison sentence for larceny in Virginia if convicted.

As with any criminal case, you can always negotiate a plea agreement or appeal your conviction in larceny cases. A theft charge can result in a criminal record which can affect you for the rest of your life. So, it is vital that you hire a Virginia theft lawyer to review your case, explain the larceny charges, and help you make a decision that protects your reputation and interests.

Virginia Larceny Law


According to Virginia law, larceny involves taking someone else’s property unlawfully and thereby permanently depriving that person of it. Larceny can be committed through fraud, deception, or force.


Classification of Larceny Offenses and Penalties


There are different classes of larceny offenses based on the dollar value of the stolen property or merchandise involved.

Petit Larceny

A theft of property worth less than $1,000 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Misdemeanor petit larceny is punishable by up to 12 months of jail time and a fine of up to $2,500.

Grand Larceny

In Virginia, grand larceny, also known as grand theft, involves stealing property worth $1000 or more. A grand larceny conviction carries a mandatory minimum of one year in prison and up to 20 years in prison. You could also be fined up to $2,500.

Shoplifting /Concealment of Merchandise

Shoplifting is a common form of theft. It involves concealing or taking possession of goods, altering the price tag or other price marking, or assisting another take goods without paying the goods’ full value.

Shoplifting penalties depend on the value of the stolen merchandise. It is petit larceny if the merchandise is valued under $1,000; grand larceny if it is valued over $1,000. 

If you’re facing theft charges, it’s critical to speak with a Virginia robbery attorney who can provide you with guidance as you navigate the criminal justice system and help you make informed decisions about your larceny offense case. Your lawyer will review the evidence against you, determine what defenses may be available, and represent you in all legal proceedings.

Virginia Theft Charges: How to Defend Yourself

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have the following defenses available to you:

  • The lack of intent: A theft crime requires the intent to steal. If you were allowed to take property or reasonably believed that you were allowed to take it, then you lacked the intent to commit the crime.

  • Property has too little value for the prosecution to charge you with a crime: Evidence in some crimes must be worth a certain amount. The crime of grand larceny, for example, involves stolen property valued at more than $1000 or a firearm of any value.

  • Entrapment: An entrapment defense can be used if someone, such as a police officer, persuaded you to steal something that you wouldn’t have otherwise taken.

  • Duress or intimidation: Criminal theft charges may be dismissed if you stole property because you were threatened with violence or blackmailed into taking it.

Your case may qualify for one or more of these defenses for theft offenses, allowing you to avoid significant jail time, fines, and other punishments.

Additionally, your lawyer will carefully review the prosecution’s case to determine if any element of the crime raises reasonable doubt.

How Can a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?


In Virginia, you must speak with an experienced and knowledgeable defense lawyer as soon as possible if you are facing theft charges.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help ensure that you receive the best possible outcome regardless of whether your case is resolved through negotiations or a trial. Having worked in criminal defense for several years, we are familiar with Virginia theft laws.

Our legal team at Scrofano Law PC is committed to protecting our client’s rights and liberties throughout all stages of their cases. Contact us today for a free consultation to determine how best we can serve you.


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Kyla Lee

Gretchen has all the skills to get the job done - former prosecutor, serious jury trial experience, and compassion and skill for days. I would not hesitate to hire her as my lawyer.

Rebecca G

If I could give her 100 stars I would. I put my complete trust in her, and she did not let me down. Her results exceeded my expectations. You need this woman on your side if you ever find yourself in trouble.

Ruby Branscomb

10 years ago, Gretchen Taylor saved my life. I was facing a serious, felony drug charge that was based on nothing besides the text messages of a former friend and other hearsay. I was 19 at the time, uneducated and uninformed of my rights, and terrified at what was unfolding.

I secured the services of an attorney who proved to be utterly useless, barely lifted a finger for my case, and encouraged me to cooperate with FCPD to ensnare some other equally young and dumb target into similar charges.

Gretchen immediately realized that my previous attorney had never even filed a motion for discovery (so that he could see what evidence the state held against me), which baffled her.
Adding to her surprise more was that there was quite literally nothing in the discovery file — the state had no physical evidence against me and used my ignorance of the system against me, hoping to coerce a confession from me and helping them with an investigation that was very far removed from my current lifestyle.

After being in court with my old lawyer, over 3 times and having the case continued for almost 2 years, I was not expecting the outcome Gretchen Taylor was able to produce for me in our very first court date together.

She asked for the case to be dismissed against me, due to the lack of evidence she found in her motion for discovery. The judge agreed, and a nolle plead was entered; the charges were essentially dropped.

Gretchen is an honorable, ethical and kind woman who drastically altered the course of my life by simply doing her job. I would recommend her as an attorney, especially those who have cases in Fairfax County.

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