Theft charges come in many different sizes for those accused of property crimes in Virginia. The circumstances leading to the accusations and the value of the property allegedly involved play a major role in the consequences someone may face.
Petty theft or petit larceny offenses lead to misdemeanor charges, while grand larceny is a felony offense that could lead to up to 20 years in prison. What is the difference between petit larceny and grand larceny under Virginia law?
Many small thefts are petit larceny
How you steal an item and the overall value of the items involved will determine what kinds of charges you face. In Virginia, if you steal property from someone else, such as merchandise from a retail establishment or electronics from inside someone’s home, if the total value of those items is less than $1,000, the state will charge you with petit larceny. As a class 1 misdemeanor, petit larceny charges can lead to up to 12 months in state custody and fines of as much as $2,500.
Once the property involved is worth $1,000 or more, the offense becomes grand larceny. Although the maximum fine does not increase, the potential jail time increases to a one-year minimum with a maximum of a 20-year sentence. In a scenario where people steal directly from another person, such as pickpocketing or robbery, it is only petit larceny if the items involved are worth $5 or less. Otherwise, it is grand larceny.
Understanding the rules that apply to Virginia theft charges can help you make sense of a pending criminal case.