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What Is Petty Larceny in Virginia?

What Is Petty Larceny In Virginia?

Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law is deeply unsettling. If you face petty larceny charges in Virginia, you’re likely overwhelmed with questions and uncertainties. We understand the stress you’re feeling, and you’re not alone.

At Bain Sheldon, our Richmond criminal defense lawyers can guide you through the complexities of your legal situation by offering understanding, reassurance, and detailed knowledge. Let’s start by exploring what petty larceny means under Virginia law and how it might impact your life moving forward.

Virginia’s Definition of Petty Larceny

Petty larceny, also called petit larceny, is a misdemeanor offense under Virginia law. Specifically, the law says someone commits the crime of petty larceny when they steal less than $1,000 worth of cash or property from a person, business, or other entity. The law also says someone commits petty larceny if they steal less than $5 worth of money or property directly off a person. If someone steals more than $1,000 worth of goods from a person or business, more than $5 worth of goods directly off a person, or steals a gun, they could face the more serious charge of grand larceny.

Penalties for Petty Larceny

Petty larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense in Virginia, so while the penalties can be steep, they’re not as high as they would be for grand larceny or other types of felony theft. The penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor include up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year in jail. If you find yourself facing a grand larceny charge, the penalties are much steeper and include up to 20 years in prison upon conviction.

Defenses for a Petty Larceny Charge in Virginia

When faced with a petty larceny charge, you’re not powerless. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help devise a strategic defense to challenge the prosecution’s case. Here are some commonly used defense strategies in Virginia petty larceny cases:

  • Lack of Intent: To prove someone committed larceny, the prosecution must establish that the accused intentionally and knowingly committed the act. If you can demonstrate that you took someone’s property accidentally or by mistake, this could potentially invalidate the charge against you.
  • Claim of Ownership or Right: If you genuinely believed that the property you’re accused of stealing was rightfully yours, or that you had the owner’s permission to use it, this might serve as a strong defense.
  • Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. If evidence is lacking, ambiguous, or improperly obtained, your attorney can argue for your charges to be dismissed.
  • Entrapment: In rare situations, if someone persuaded or coerced you into committing a crime you otherwise wouldn’t have committed, your lawyer might be able to argue entrapment and have the charges against you dropped.

Our Virginia Larceny Defense Lawyers Are Ready to Uphold Your Rights

Facing a petty larceny charge in Virginia can be a daunting experience, but a seasoned criminal defense lawyer is your lifeline during these challenging times. Your attorney is your advocate and can use their experience and knowledge to protect your rights and ensure your side of the story is heard. A defense lawyer can meticulously examine the details of your case, probing for potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence while also building a robust defense strategy tailored to your circumstances. Their job also extends to negotiating plea deals, reducing penalties, or even securing case dismissals where possible.

Whether navigating the intricacies of court procedures or providing emotional support, a dedicated defense lawyer is instrumental in guiding you through the legal labyrinth with confidence and assurance. Call Bain Sheldon today at 804-282-8625 for a free consultation, or you can reach out to us online.

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