Shoplifting is a complicated crime because it is not always done intentionally or with malicious intent. Shoplifting can be as simple and accidental as putting something in your bag and forgetting to pay for it. However, like any other crime, shoplifting is not without its consequences. Working with a skilled criminal defense lawyer can make all of the difference. If you face shoplifting charges, get in touch with a Fredericksburg shoplifting lawyer who is familiar with Fredericksburg theft laws and will advocate for you.
In Virginia, there are two different code sections commonly used to charge when someone is accused of shoplifting. The most common two code sections are petit larceny, which is Section 18.2-96, and concealment, Section 18.2-104. Both of these can be charged in a variety of shoplifting scenarios. In addition, a person can say that someone took something that was not theirs to take, and did so in a commercial setting.
Shoplifting is no different than larceny. It is actually a subset of a larceny offense. While petit larceny and concealment are often charged as two different code sections, they are generally interchangeable in the shoplifting context.
Shoplifting differs from other theft-related offenses in many ways. First, it is generally seen as an incredibly impulsive offense. There is not necessarily a specific type of person who shoplifts. Generally, shoplifting offenders can be men, women, young, or old. It really cuts across a lot of different demographics. In that respect, shoplifting can run the gamut of people who may be affected by this type of conduct.
Depending on the amount in question, shoplifting can be a misdemeanor or a felony. This is a common misconception as other local jurisdictions do not have felony shoplifting. The felony threshold is anything over $200. So in the shoplifting context, this means that someone charged with shoplifting an amount in controversy of $205 could be charged with a felony offense. It is not uncommon that someone is charged with shoplifting as a misdemeanor, but it can also be a felony.
Since it is a Class 1 misdemeanor, the possible consequences of misdemeanor shoplifting, whether charged as petit larceny or concealment, is up to 12 months in jail, up to a $2,500 fine or a combination of both. Other consequences may include gaining no trespass from the store where the alleged conduct occurred, paying restitution, completing community service, and completing other classes such as shoplifting or initial shoplifting prevention programs.
If someone commits a shoplifting offense and the amount in controversy is over $200, they may be charged with a felony offense, since it is then grand larceny.
A second shoplifting offense is viewed exponentially more serious. When someone is charged with a first offense, especially a young person, they may be given the benefit of the doubt by some courts and the punishment may not be as severe. When someone comes back for the second time, it is common for the dispositions to include some active incarceration.
This is done twofold. First, it is done to punish the person and second, it is done to discourage the person from future shoplifting activities. The person comes to understand that if they return to court with a third offense, they will be charged with a felony.
By hiring a local attorney, the person has an attorney on their side who knows the local judges, the local practices, and the local loss prevention officers who are strong witnesses when they testify. An experienced, local attorney knows the consistency of outcomes to choose the best results for someone. A person should contact a shoplifting attorney as soon as possible after being charged with a shoplifting offense. If a person believes they may be under investigation for shoplifting, it is also important to contact an attorney immediately.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law