Manassas Theft Lawyer
Theft, which is also known as larceny, means the act of taking property that belongs to another person with the intent to keep that property from the rightful owner. However, the police may arrest someone even if that person took property by accident, lacking the required intent.
An arrest or accusation does not mean a person is guilty. It merely means that the police suspect that the person violated the law. If the police arrest or accuse you some theft-related act, you may find the services of an experienced defense attorney helpful.
A charge may become a conviction and that conviction may stay on your criminal record, depending on the nature of the charge. Contact a Manassas theft lawyer who may be able to explain more about the process and the possible penalties you may face.
Prosecutors often desire to settle cases quickly and typically that means you may be offered a plea bargain. Let a knowledgeable and dedicated attorney represent your interests in that type of situation.
Theft and Larceny in Manassas
There are two levels of theft, petit and grand larceny. One is typically a misdemeanor while the other is a felony. The difference between the two depends on the value of the goods at issue. For more information, consult with a knowledgeable lawyer. There are also different types of larceny, which include:
- Stealing dogs and farm animals,
- Stealing banknotes, checks, etc.,
- Tenant farmers stealing crops before rent is paid,
- Selling property with a lien against it,
- Unauthorized use of vehicles or horses,
- Shoplifting, and
- Receiving stolen goods.
The government can convict someone of grand larceny if that person steals property directly from another person worth at least five dollars, steals any property worth at least $500 or takes a firearm. The punishment can include up to 20 years in prison. In the alternative, a conviction may also carry up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500 or a combination thereof. This rule for this unclassified felony is found in the Code of Virginia § 18.2-95.
Petit larceny is when a person takes property from a person worth less than five dollars or takes property worth less than $500. The Code of Virginia § 18.2-96 states that this act is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The court cannot sentence the actor to more than 12 months in jail and order a fine of more than $2,500, but it can sentence an offender to a combination of jail and a fine up to these statutory limits.
Civil Penalties for Theft
If a person is accused of shoplifting, the merchant can also institute a civil matter against the actor. According to the Code of Virginia § 8.01-44.4, the merchant can recover two times the retail value of the item taken, but at a minimum, the merchant can recover $50.
If the merchant recovers the stolen goods, and those goods are sellable, the merchant’s damages are capped at $350. The winner in the civil matter is entitled to attorney fees and court costs. If you are charged with a larceny offense, you may receive a civil demand letter referencing this section. Contact a theft lawyer in Manassas before you take any action on such a letter.
Talk to a Manassas Theft Attorney Today
If you are concerned about theft charges, you may wish to speak with an attorney. Even a misdemeanor charge carries with it the risk of jail time and large fines. A felony conviction may stay on your permanent record. The prosecutor may argue that the property at issue is worth more than its actual value to pursue a grand larceny case against you.
The most effective way to protect yourself may be to enlist the services of a Manassas theft lawyer. Call one today to find out more information on how you can move forward and what you can expect in the coming days.