In 2018, Virginia changed the threshold for grand larceny from $200 up to $500. Prior to the new law, larceny of $200 worth of goods from a store could result in up to 20 years in prison. Now, larceny of property valued at $500 or more is grand larceny and anything less than $500 is generally petit larceny.
The criminal penalty for a larceny conviction can vary depending on the value of the property. If you were arrested for larceny or shoplifting in Virginia, contact me to discuss your case. A criminal conviction for grand larceny can lead to a felony record and restrict your future opportunities.
Grand Larceny Statute in Virginia
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-95, any person who
- Commits larceny from the person of another of money or other thing of value of $5 or more,
- Commits simple larceny not from the person of another of goods and chattels of the value of $500 or more, or
- Commits simple larceny not from the person of another of any firearm, regardless of the firearm's value, shall be guilty of grand larceny.
Shoplifting Can Be Grand Larceny
Shoplifting in Virginia is considered “concealing or taking possession of merchandise.” Shoplifting is considered grand larceny if the value of the goods or merchandise involved is $500 or more. Shoplifting of any amount less than $500 would generally be charged as petit larceny.
Larceny from the Person of Another
Larceny from the person of another is like pickpocketing, or it could involve taking property from someone's purse or backpack while that property is in the person's immediate custody and control. The limit for larceny from the person of another is only $5. Pickpocketing a pack of gum or a few dollars may not be grand larceny, but taking even an empty wallet would generally be grand larceny if the wallet was valued at $5 or more.
Larceny With Intent to Sell
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-108.01, any person who commits larceny of property valued at $500 or more with the intent to sell or distribute is guilty of a felony punishable by a minimum of two years in prison, up to a maximum of 20 years. This is a separate and distinct offense from grand larceny.
The prosecutor can show prima facie evidence of intent to sell by the theft of more than one item of the same product. For example, shoplifting a new smartphone from a store could be grand larceny or petit larceny, but shoplifting two of the same smartphones could be considered larceny with intent to sell, resulting in a possible active jail sentence.
Larceny of Checks
Larceny of bank notes, checks, or account books can be considered larceny. The penalty is assessed based on the value represented by the paper. Larceny of a paper can be prosecuted under Virginia Code § 18.2-98 and the represented value is the relevant value. If convicted of larceny of bank notes, checks, etc. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-98, the punishment is the same as larceny of goods.
Penalties for Grand Larceny in Virginia
Grand larceny can be punishable as a felony or misdemeanor. As a felony, the penalties for grand larceny is imprisonment in a state correctional facility for 1 to 20 years. At the discretion of the court or jury, grand larceny can be punished with p to 12 months in jail and fined up to $2,500.
Grand Larceny Defenses
Talk to your Virginia criminal defense lawyer about the best defenses in your case. Your criminal defense lawyer will look at the facts and evidence in your case and identify the best defense options. Possible grand larceny defenses may include
- mistaken identity,
- the defendant was the rightful owner of the property,
- the defendant intended to pay for the merchandise, or
- the police conducted an illegal search and seizure.
Charlottesville Larceny Defense Lawyer
Theft of a couple of items may not seem like it should lead to felony charges, but any value of theft of a firearm, pickpocketing, or items valued at $500 or more is grand larceny. If you or a loved one was arrested for theft or shoplifting in Charlottesville, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about how to fight criminal theft charges and avoid a felony conviction. Contact me today for a free consultation.