Experienced and Skilled Theft Attorney in Warrenton, VA

Are you facing criminal charges for theft in Warrenton, VA? As with other property crimes, a theft charge often comes with restitution on top of jail time and fines. A criminal conviction on your record means a lifetime of restrictions and challenges.

Theft is the unlawful taking of personal property belonging to another person without their consent. The taking must be with intent to deprive the owner of the said item. Therefore, the prosecutor must prove your intent and lack of ownership or authorization to use the alleged stolen property, among others.

Theft lawyers at Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC, are here to help you fight your charges and obtain a victorious outcome. We have an unwavering dedication to handling Virginia criminal defense cases with the utmost professionalism. Expect only professional, compassionate, and experienced representation from our criminal defense lawyers.

Theft Crimes in Virginia: Types, Definitions, and Penalties

Theft is a general term for stealing property. You may be charged with one of the following theft offenses in Warrenton, VA:

  • Article 3, Chapter 5, Title 18.2 of the Code of Virginia regulates larceny crimes:

    • Grand Larceny: A person commits grand larceny if they steal money or property of at least $5 directly from another person’s body. It may also be committed if the value of goods or chattels is $1,000 or more.

    • Petty or Petit Larceny: A person commits petit larceny if they steal money or property of less than $5 directly from another person. It may also be committed if the value of goods or chattels is less than $1,000.

  • Under § 18.2-103 of the Virginia Code, shoplifting may be committed by:

    • Taking possession of merchandise without authority

    • Transferring goods without authority

    • Altering price tags without authority

If the value of stolen property is less than $1,000, the crime is petit larceny. Otherwise, the crime is grand larceny. If the stolen goods were sold online, shoplifting may be prosecuted as a federal crime.

  • Robbery (§ 18.2-58) is committed by using physical force or intimidation to steal someone’s property. It may also be committed by causing personal injury. Robbery is considered a crime against the person, and it is a felony of varying severity.

  • Burglary (§ 18.2-89) is committed by breaking in and entering another person’s house or other property at night to commit larceny or a felony. Burglary is a felony.

  • Credit card theft (§ 18.2-192) is a grand larceny. It is committed through any of the following:

    • Taking or obtaining a credit card from another without the latter’s consent

    • Retaining possession of a credit card with intent to use or sell

    • Selling or buying a credit card from a person who is not the issuer

Penalties for Theft in Virginia

Theft may be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor:

  • Misdemeanor Theft: When the property is valued at not more than $500, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The penalty is up to one year of jail time and a max of $2,500 in fines.

  • Felony Theft: When the property stolen is valued at more than $500, it is a felony. The penalty is one to 20 years imprisonment.

A person with two theft convictions would be charged with felony theft on his third charge.

Fighting theft criminal cases is almost second nature to criminal defense lawyers. A criminal charge doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guilty. Make sure to hire VA lawyers with the legal experience and knowledge of criminal law to walk free as soon as possible.

Defenses Available to a Person Charged With Theft

Here are some defenses that can dismiss or reduce a theft charge:

  • The value of the property stolen was minuscule to warrant criminal prosecution

  • You thought you owned the property

  • You were the co-owner of the property

  • You had no intent to gain

  • The owner gave his consent when the taking happened

  • You have a mental illness

  • A violation of your constitutional rights was committed

  • The complaint was filed out of time.

  • Entrapment

A skilled and experienced criminal lawyer would study every defense available and would work to apply the most favorable to your case.

How an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You

An experienced attorney can help you in this very challenging time. Remember that your legal counsel is your only ally in the investigation room and throughout the legal process. You need someone who knows what they are doing, cares about you, and is willing to spend the time and effort to get you out. These things may be hard to find in a court-appointed attorney.

Criminal defense attorneys can help with the following:

  • Gather evidence and conduct an investigation of your case and arrest

  • Represent you in police interviews and court hearings

  • Work on a strong defense strategy to get your case dismissed

  • File the necessary motions

  • Explain complex laws and procedures of the legal system

  • Negotiate a favorable plea agreement with the prosecution

Again, you don’t have to face this challenging time alone. Get in touch with our Warrenton criminal lawyers for a free initial consultation.

Contact Ashwell & Ashwell PLLC for a Free Consultation

Talk to our Warrenton criminal lawyers immediately if you or your loved one has been charged with theft in Warrenton, VA. Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC, will walk you through the entire process, from investigations to trial. We will study your criminal case and plan your legal strategy as soon as you hire us. You may have tons of questions, and we are ready to answer them.

Call our law firm today for a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Theft a Crime of Moral Turpitude?

Yes. Theft is a crime of moral turpitude as it violates the community’s agreed moral standards.

Convicts of criminal offenses of moral turpitude may:

  • Find it difficult to join the military
  • Be unable to get security clearance for housing and loans
  • Have difficulty applying for their college of choice

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Theft in Virginia?

Criminal charges for petty larceny and theft must be filed within three to five years from their commission. Once the statute expires, the prosecution can no longer file a charge against the accused.

Can a Child Be Charged With Theft in Virginia?

A juvenile aged under 18 may be charged with theft. The criminal charge will depend on the value of the property stolen. However, only those aged 14 but under 18 may be tried as adults.

A minor charged with petty theft may have his case dismissed for good behavior. Even if guilty of theft, a skilled defense attorney can help lower a felony to a misdemeanor. Speak with defense attorneys experienced in juvenile offenses for a free case evaluation.

Do First-Time Shoplifters Go to Jail in Virginia?

Yes, but it depends on the value and manner of stealing. Sometimes, shoplifters are ordered to do community service instead of time. A Virginia attorney can help increase your chance of avoiding jail. Contact a criminal defense attorney today.


Contact Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC Offices Today!

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