Fredericksburg Felony Theft Lawyer
Felony theft is a more serious charge than a misdemeanor theft offense. As defined by Virginia law, felony theft is a larceny offense and can be charged as a felony. There are a wide variety of charges that fall under this umbrella of felony theft as the felony threshold in Virginia is quite low for theft based offenses. It is imperative that someone facing a felony charge has legal representation and hires an experienced Fredericksburg felony theft lawyer.
Theft and larceny are broad terms and include a wide variety of activities. Whenever a larceny has been committed and that larceny offense is alleged to involve a value greater than $200, the defendant may be charged with felony theft. A skilled attorney understands that a felony theft differs from a misdemeanor theft because the amount of the value is alleged to be more than $200. These are complicated policies regarding theft, so it is essential that if you are facing charges, you speak with a knowledgeable theft attorney.
Penalties for Felony Theft
There are differences in penalties for felony theft compared to a misdemeanor charge. Most misdemeanor theft offenses, whether they are unauthorized use, embezzlement, false pretenses, or petty larceny, are class 1 misdemeanors. Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to 12 months in jail, up to $2,500 fine, or combination thereof. However, felony theft offenses are always more severe than that and may differ significantly from misdemeanor offenses. Some felony offenses have the option for a person to be sentenced in accordance with misdemeanor punishments or what is called a split or optional sentence in Virginia.
Penalties also may include a sentence up to 20 years in prison. For example, someone with a felony grand larceny, it is unclassified felonies punishable by one to 20 years in prison, up to 12 months in jail, or a fine. Misdemeanor petty larceny is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, $2,500 fine, or a combination thereof. If the person has any questions, the person would want to talk to an experienced Fredericksburg felony theft attorney right away.
Misdemeanor Theft Aggravated to a Felonious Degree
There are two main ways that a misdemeanor theft can be aggravated or escalated to a felony offense. The first way is that the value was initially calculated to be lower than $200 and is then recalculated to be in excess of $200. For example, someone is initially charged with shoplifting an alleged value of $185 and then that recalculated comes out to be $215, so their offense could be seriously modified without doing a lot of additional things and without the facts or their background changing.
The second and potentially more common way that a misdemeanor larceny offense can be escalated to a felony is that they have prior similar offenses. For example, someone that has two prior larceny convictions can have a third offense via felony simply for committing another petty larceny. Though it is similar to the old “three strikes and you’re out” theory of law, in essence, it means that if the person has a third petty larceny conviction, regardless of the value, and two prior convictions within that time period, then that third conviction can be a serious felony.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
There are several benefits to hiring a skilled Fredericksburg felony theft lawyer. The first thing an attorney will want to do is talk to the individual facing charges. It is important to know if they were involved in the case and to let the Commonwealth Attorney’s office know so they can begin the discovery process. Having an in-depth discussion is the first thing to do in this case.
Felony theft charges, as well as misdemeanor theft charges, are some of the hardest types of offenses to predict the outcome throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Fredericksburg is not alone. Knowing how Fredericksburg prosecutors, officers, and judges handle theft offenses and when they are likely to make agreements or reduce offenses as well as what punishments you may be looking at are important case aspects to consider. An experienced Virginia attorney with local experience can best support your case.