Being accused of theft could leave a negative impact on not only your criminal record but your reputation. Serious criminal penalties could affect your life if you face conviction.
If you have been accused of theft, it is essential that you contact a Chantilly theft lawyer to start protecting your rights. As your criminal defense lawyer, they could evaluate your circumstances and help you mount your case for defense moving forward. From the moment you are investigated, law enforcement and the prosecutor will be looking to use everything you say and do against you, so having an attorney at your side might prevent giving them the evidence they need.
While there is no distinctive definition for theft, theft is generally considered the unlawful taking of another’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of that property. One of the defenses that a theft lawyer in Chantilly might argue would be that the defendant did not possess the requisite intent to deprive another of their property permanently. Theft offenses could be broken down into many different crimes, such as:
The theft offense of larceny further breaks down into two main categories, petit larceny, and grand larceny. Petit larceny, as stated in Virginia Code §18.2-96, occurs when someone steals money or something of value less than $5 from someone’s person or commits larceny, not from their person of goods or chattel valued less than $500. Grand larceny is the same as petit larceny, except the value of goods or chattel that is stolen is valued at $500 or more. An additional offense that amounts to grand larceny is the taking of any firearm, regardless of value.
The criminal penalties for larceny depend on the offense and the discretion of the court. A petit larceny charge is considered a class 1 misdemeanor. Those convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor could face one year in jail and a fine of $2,500.
However, grand larceny, is a felony charge, carrying much more severe potential consequences. Those accused of committing grand larceny could face up to 20 years in prison. However, the court retains the discretion to lower the punishment to a misdemeanor for grand larceny, depending on the facts of the case. A theft attorney in Chantilly could advocate for a lower punishment, especially if they had no previous criminal record, or the value of the property is only slightly higher than $200. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney could mean the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge.
The reality of facing criminal charges could be a frightening experience, especially if you are going at it alone or you are unfamiliar with the courts. The possibility of losing money to fines and spending time behind bars could be even more distressing.
However, a Chantilly theft lawyer could be your ally, defending you every step of the way, helping you make informed decisions about your defense. Reach out and learn more about your legal options, schedule a consultation today.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law