Fredericksburg Theft Penalties
Fredericksburg theft charges are not taken lightly in court. Theft penalties can be very severe. Depending on the nature of the offense, the individual’s criminal history, and the facts of the case, there is a wide variety of things that may happen as a result of a theft offense. If someone is convicted, they might receive a fine after a suspended jail time and then also receive special conditions such as community service, required classes, restriction from certain properties, and restitution.
In more serious theft offenses, a person could be facing a period of prison time and/or probation. They may be required to meet with a probation officer on a regular basis. Theft penalties themselves as well as how the penalties fit the case are determined by a case-by-case inquiry. A person facing a theft charge wants to have an experienced theft attorney to help them understand all possible results of the specific charge.
Many theft charges in Virginia come under the umbrella of a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a less serious level of charge in Virginia. However, the misdemeanor threshold or the amount of value of items taken, or proven taken to be a misdemeanor in Virginia is quite low. It is especially low in comparison with other neighboring jurisdictions. In Virginia, the misdemeanor-felony threshold for a larceny offense is only $200.
This means that when a person is accused of shoplifting just $50 worth of merchandise, they can be charged with a petit larceny offense which is a misdemeanor. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable up to 12 months in jail, a $2500 fine, or a combination of both. However, when that same shoplift is $250, or an amount above $200, a person can be charged with a felony offense.
Felonies depend greatly on the type of charge. The felony threshold is when the value of the taken items, from the embezzlement, or from a credit card fraud is over $200.
There are various levels of felonies and penalties. The most common penalty for theft or larceny is grand larceny. Grand larceny is an unclassified felony, meaning it has a special punishment. It does not fit in any of the other classes. Grand larceny is punishable by 1 to 20 years in the Department of Correction or, at the court’s discretion, up to 12 months and a fine.
The 1 to 20 years broad penalty allows the court to include it for the most serious penalties. For example, someone stole a priceless painting or a priceless diamond ring all the way down to a minor offense, such as someone shoplifting $300 for the first time. They all come with that same offense. There are other larceny or theft felonies that may have different punishments. These may be Class 5 or even Class 6 felonies which are punishable by far less periods of time depending on the nature of the specific offense.
Prior Criminal Conviction’s Influence
When someone has prior criminal convictions, it can affect the theft charge in a number of ways. The most common way is that the person is perceived as having some knowledge of the criminal justice system. In a practical sense, it may actually create a whole new level of offense. This is commonly seen in an example of petit larceny. When someone is charged with petit larceny in Virginia for a first offense, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if that person had two prior petit larceny convictions, the third petit larceny offense becomes a Class 6 felony. The punishments can increase based upon prior convictions, and a person can be viewed negatively by the prosecutor in a court if they have prior or similar convictions when they present themselves for the new charge.
Benefits of an Attorney
By talking to an experienced an attorney, a person can understand the possible outcomes, as well as the likely outcomes of their charge depending on their circumstances. An attorney can provide peace of mind and help someone charged with a serious offense develop a plan for the future. They know what to expect moving forward and how they can position themselves to achieve the best possible outcome.