Theft is a serious crime in Virginia. You might not get away with a slap on the wrist. Stealing another person’s mail, whether it’s letters or packages, is a federal offense. A conviction can land you in federal prison for up to five years.
With the popularity of online shopping, consumers can get the products they order delivered to their front doors. An increase in deliveries has also increased the rate of porch piracy. Individuals steal packages from front porches before residents can bring their purchases inside.
Many homeowners are amping up security on their properties by installing cameras. The footage can serve as helpful evidence in a porch piracy case. A conviction for theft can lead to penalties, such as imprisonment and fines.
You should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are arrested or charged with package theft. Without a defense team to represent you in your case, you will likely end up serving time in prison.
What Is Package Theft in Virginia?
The Commonwealth of Virginia classifies many theft crimes as larceny. A person commits larceny when they fraudulently or wrongfully take someone’s personal goods without permission and with the intent to permanently deprive them of the goods. Stealing a person’s packages from their front door is a form of larceny.
Larceny has two classifications, and which one a case of porch theft falls under depends on the value of the stolen goods:
- Petit larceny – Petit larceny is stealing another person’s property with a value of less than $1,000.
- Grand larceny – Grand larceny involves stealing someone’s property valued at $1,000 or more.
What Are the Penalties for Package Theft?
A larceny charge depends on the value of the stolen property. The judge can increase the sentence after considering contributing factors, such as the defendant’s criminal history and other crimes they committed while stealing.
Petit larceny is a misdemeanor offense. The penalties can include:
- Up to twelve months in jail
- A maximum fine of $2,500
Grand larceny is a felony. It can lead to sentencing, such as:
- One to twenty years in prison
- No more than a $2,500 fine
According to U.S. Code 18 Section 1708, mail theft is taking mail that isn’t yours for any purpose. Federal law considers mail as any postal card, bag, letter, box, or package. You can face federal charges for stealing mail from a person’s porch or private mailbox, a collection box, a postal worker, or a mail truck.
Federal mail theft is a felony. Sentencing can include:
- A maximum of five years in federal prison
- Up to a $250,000 fine
A package theft conviction can have far-reaching consequences. Even if you pay your debt to society, you can face significant challenges after your release from prison. You might have trouble finding a job or place to live. Anyone can learn about your criminal past by performing a simple internet search.
Even if the charges get dropped, having an arrest on your record can destroy your reputation. You must live with the stigma of the arrest for the rest of your life.
Bain Sheldon has defended clients in Richmond, VA, since 2006. We understand how scary it can be to face a possible prison sentence. You don’t have to go through this alone. We will protect your rights and remain by your side until the end. You can count on us to create a solid defense strategy to try to get the charges against you dropped or reduced.
If you were arrested for or charged with package theft, call us at 804-282-8625 for a confidential consultation to learn more about your legal options. Let our experienced team fight for your freedom and future.