Arlington Theft Lawyer
Crimes of theft involve the taking of property, goods, or money from their rightful owner. Theft crimes are taken very seriously by law enforcement officials and prosecutors in Arlington County, Virginia. Crimes of property are broken up into various offenses, all of which incur severe penalties upon conviction. If you have been accused of theft, contact an Arlington theft attorney for additional information about the charges you face and the possible punishments.
Safety and crime prevention are priorities for local Arlington legislators as the county continues to experience robust business and residential growth. Given the high levels of growth in the county and the influx of residents and visitors that go along with it, it is important that people in Arlington feel safe and protected from crime.
Theft Crimes and Consequences
Arlington strives to remain vigilant in protecting the property and safety of its residents. Punishment for theft-related crimes can be stiff, depending on the nature of the offense. The state categorizes theft acts into larceny, robbery, and burglary, with varying penalties that extend to life in prison.
Grand and Petit Larceny
Larceny is the intentional taking of another’s property without consent and with no intention of returning it, thus permanently depriving the owner of their property. Larceny, which can be grand or petit, is distinguished by the value of the property stolen and is not classified as involving violence in the commission of the crime. Grand larceny can be defined by stealing property worth $5 or more directly from the owner, stealing something valued at $500 or more (not directly from the owner), or theft of a gun of any value. Grand larceny is a felony offense that could incur a penalty of one to 20 years in prison. Alternatively, petit larceny involves the theft of something valued at less than $5 directly from its owner or something (other than a gun) valued at less than $500 from anywhere except the person of the owner. Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. A third or subsequent conviction for petit larceny, however, becomes a felony offense, without regard to the value of the items taken. Attempts of grand or petit larceny carry the same penalties as having actually executed the crime.
Burglary, Burglarious Tools, and Penalties
Burglary involves breaking and entering someone’s home in order to steal or commit a felony. Burglary is a Class 3 felony carrying penalties of five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. If the offender is armed with a deadly weapon during a burglary, they face a Class 2 felony punishable by 20 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. A perpetrator can be charged with statutory burglary if they burglarize a home (or other living quarters) by:
- Entering without breaking at night;
- Breaking and entering during the day;
- Entering and hiding in the home or attached structure; or
- Entering without breaking and hiding in the dwelling place.
Any of the above four actions committed by an offender who also has intent to murder, rape, rob, or engage in arson will earn the perpetrator a Class 3 felony charge carrying a penalty of five to 20 years in prison and possibly a fine of up to $100,000. If an offender commits any of the above acts with the intention of stealing or committing another felony, they may face one to 20 years in prison. Or, if his actions fall within any of the above four categories (or breaking and entering at night) and he is intent on committing assault and battery, his statutory burglary charge could earn him one to 20 years in prison. If armed with a deadly weapon during any of the aforementioned theft-related acts, the defendant could risk conviction of a Class 2 felony, which carries a penalty of 20 years to life in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.
Having burglarious tools (or outfit) during the commission of larceny, robbery, or burglary constitutes a Class 5 felony, with a penalty of one to 10 years in prison. Burglarious tools may include, but are not limited to, crowbars, gloves, screwdrivers, battering rams, and chisels.
If an occupied home is broken into and entered by an unarmed offender who is intent on committing a misdemeanor other than trespassing or assault and battery, the offender risks being convicted of breaking and entering with intent to commit other misdemeanors. This burglary constitutes a Class 6 felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. If they were armed with a deadly weapon, their actions would automatically be elevated to a Class 2 felony carrying a penalty of 20 years to life in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000.
Robbery and its Penalty
Robbery involves theft with the use or threat of violence, which may include choking, striking, or beating. Putting a victim in fear of serious injury or threatening to use (or wielding) a deadly weapon also constitutes violence in an act of robbery, which is a felony offense that carries a possible penalty of five years to life in prison.
If you are a resident of Arlington County and have been charged with robbery, burglary, grand larceny, petit larceny, or even shoplifting or carjacking, understand that the consequences of a conviction are extremely serious and your charges should not be taken lightly. You would be well-served by contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney who can use their years of experience defending cases in Northern Virginia to provide you with sound legal advice and information. Contact his law office today for a no-cost case evaluation.