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How does Virginia treat theft-related offenses?

It's obvious that the overwhelming majority of people understand that taking the property of another is considered a crime here in Virginia. What might not be quite so obvious, however, is how exactly the commonwealth defines this crime, meaning what elements must be present in order for a person to face theft-related charges.

As it turns out, there is actually no precise definition of theft or its related offenses in the Old Dominion State. Rather, state lawmakers have established a system whereby theft -- actually referred to as larceny -- charges are classified according to the value of the property alleged taken.

Petit Larceny

If a person is charged with petit larceny, it means they have allegedly stolen services or property valued at less than $200, or money or property worth less than $5 from another person.

Classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, those convicted of petit larceny face up to a maximum of 12 months in jail, and/or a maximum fine of up $2,500.

Grand Larceny

If a person is charged with grand larceny, it means they have allegedly stolen services or property valued at or over $200, money or property worth more than $5 from another person, or a firearm of any value.

While grand larceny is classified as a felony, meaning it can result in anywhere from one to 20 years in prison, there is a provision in the law granting judges and juries the discretion to treat it as a class 1 misdemeanor.  

By way of example, consider a young person with a non-existent criminal record who stole property valued at $210. Here, the judge could decide to punish the grand larceny as a class 1 misdemeanor, meaning the young person faces up to 12 months in a local jail and/or a maximum fine of up $2,500.

Given the aforementioned discussion, it's important to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you are charged with any sort of larceny-related offense. Indeed, in addition to possible incarceration and fines, there's also your reputation and your record to consider.

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