The holidays are supposed to be the happiest season of the year. Unfortunately, for many people this year, the holidays are a time of depression and desperation. The overwhelming pressure to provide a family with a picture-perfect holiday can lead people to do things they usually would never consider, like stealing. From porch pirates to shoplifting and credit card fraud, it can be tempting for people to skirt the law to provide for their families.
The legal team at Bain Sheldon understands how the holiday season can sometimes drive people to do the unthinkable. If you’ve been charged with theft this holiday season, you may worry about how legal consequences could impact your celebrations. Unfortunately, a theft charge can do more than ruin your holiday. It can ruin your future.
Most Common Crimes that Occur During the Holidays
For many, the holiday season is merry and bright. However, the pressure to give friends and family the perfect holiday can be overwhelming. The season of lights can turn people’s thoughts dark, causing them to commit crimes when most people’s defenses are down. Some of the most common crimes that occur during the holidays include:
- Mail theft and “porch pirates”
- Retail shoplifting
- Credit card fraud
- Return fraud
- Charity fraud
- Car theft
Scammers also have a field day during the holidays, preying on the goodwill of others. Pre-paid gift card scams, charity scams, and wire fraud are common from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
Potential Penalties for Holiday Theft
Larceny or theft occurs when an individual takes someone else’s personal property to deprive that person of the property permanently. Shoplifting is a form of larceny that involves a person willfully concealing or taking possession of goods or altering the price of goods to take possession of the merchandise.
The penalties for theft in Virginia depend on the value of the goods an individual takes. Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense. A conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor can lead to fines of up to $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail. Grand larceny is a more significant offense that can result in fines of up to $2,500 and imprisonment of one to 20 years.
Fraud, burglary, and robbery can also lead to significant legal consequences, including steep fines and imprisonment. Conviction of any theft also means the individual can be saddled with a criminal record, making it challenging to secure financing, employment, and housing. A conviction can also be embarrassing and tarnish a person’s reputation with family, friends, and colleagues.
What to Do If You’re Charged with Theft this Holiday Season
Has law enforcement arrested you for theft during the holidays? Do not talk to law enforcement without a criminal defense lawyer present. The police and court systems get overloaded during the holidays. Law enforcement officers are building a case against you. Don’t make it easier for them by answering their invasive questions without legal representation. You have the right to remain silent. Exercise that right if you are charged with theft.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can review the unique circumstances of your case and craft a strategic defense plan that offers you the best chance at obtaining a favorable outcome. At Bain Sheldon, we’ll thoroughly investigate the charges against you, answer your questions, and strategize the best way to handle your case.
Contact a Richmond, VA, Criminal Defense Attorney Now
Don’t let a conviction for larceny define your holiday season. Contact a skilled Richmond criminal defense attorney today to help you aggressively fight the theft charges against you. Contact Bain Sheldon today at 804-282-8625 for a case evaluation.