The following is taken from an interview with a Virginia theft lawyer regarding evidence used to prosecute larceny crimes. To discuss your case call today and schedule a free consultation.
It depends on the jurisdiction, every jurisdiction handles larceny offenses differently. Whether or not the person is going to be advised of their right to counsel at their initial court date, or at a special pre-trial proceeding, for example is dependent on where the offense is being prosecuted. Typically in northern Virginia, it is unlikely for the Commonwealth to waive jail. When there’s no waiver of the ability to seek jail, it means that the accused has the constitutional right to be represented by an attorney. Therefore, the person accused of larceny offense can request the court give them additional time to secure a private attorney for their choosing or be considered by the court for court-appointed counsel.
Well, at the heart of any larceny offense the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person obtained goods or services of value and that they obtained them without a right to obtain them. The specifics of how that’s done will determine the type of larceny charge brought—whether someone allegedly took money or property from the place of another, or they allegedly took funds from an account to which they had access but not permission or legal authority to remove, etc. Those are examples of different nuances that make up the different types of larceny offenses. Generally speaking, however, we will see a case where the Commonwealth will attempt to prove that a person took goods or services or money, to which they had no right, that belonged to another and that had a value.
The Commonwealth typically proves the larceny offense through testimony by the victim, and testimony from law enforcement officials that have investigated the case. This made include statements made to law enforcement by the accused. Often a larceny case includes videotapes of surveillance footage, audio tapes of evidence, or financial records.
Quite often, we refute the evidence through evidentiary objections in order to prevent the evidence from being considered by the court. A motion to suppress may be filed to limit the Commonwealth’s evidence. Arguments may be made regarding proper presentation of evidence as well.
In many cases, it is difficult for the Commonwealth to lay an appropriate foundation for business records or financial evidence. Expert testimony is occasionally utilized as well as the testimony of the accused in certain instances.
The most common constitutional issues that arise in larceny cases are search and seizure issues which implicate the Fourth Amendment. These issues focus on illegally obtained evidence or unconstitutionally obtained statements by the accused. There are also Miranda issues regarding statements.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law