Grand Larceny in Virginia is a theft offense that has become a very common felony charge in the modern era. This is because the goods that are sold by stores cost so much more than they used to. It is no longer difficult to catch a felony charge for stealing a few shirts or even food. Grand Larceny is different from Petit Larceny because it is a felony. Grand Larceny charges are prosecuted in Fairfax County almost every business day and getting the charge reduced or dismissed is of paramount importance to avoid a felony conviction. We would recommend giving us a call or use the contact form and we would happy to discuss your case with you.
Grand Larceny: §18.2-95
A charge under Virginia Code §18.2-95 is a felony. Grand Larceny is defined as taking or stealing property of another person, without their consent, and with the intent to permanently deprive them of the property. In addition, the act becomes a felony when the value of the property is a certain amount which will trigger this statute.
Grand Larceny is an "unclassified" felony which means the punishment is indicated in the statute itself. §18.2-95 calls for a punishment of 0 days to 20 years and a fine of up to $2500. It is rare to get substantial jail time but some jail time is certainly possible under the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines. It is also a type of crime that will likely affect immigration and employment and should be addressed thoughtfully.
Grand Larceny From the Person
It is Grand Larceny when property is taken directly from another person and it's value is $5 or more. This is more commonly known as pick pocketing. It should be noted that this offense is different from Robbery because no violence is used to obtain the property. This type of offense is relatively rare. In many cases, Grand Larceny from the person is used as a reduction from more violent offenses because it actually minimizes exposure to jail or prison time.
Grand Larceny: $1000 or more
It is Grand Larceny when the property taken has a value of $1000 or more. As noted above, this is the most common type of Grand Larceny charge because shoplifting is so prevalent. As a result, most Grand Larceny charges in Fairfax County stem from shoplifting from a store. In other cases, the charge may resonate from a burglary where the items taken from the home have a value of $1000 or more. In any case, it is very easy nowadays for the goods taken to have a value of $1000 or more.
Grand Larceny: Firearm
Taking another person's firearm is considered Grand Larceny regardless of the value. As a result, it could be a very cheap firearm and it will still be a felony charge because "value" is not an element of the offense. Rather, the legislature seeks to punish those that are stealing firearms due to the dangerous nature of firearms.
Defending Grand Larceny Charges in Fairfax County
Because Grand Larceny is a felony charge, it is of utmost importance to avoid a felony conviction. Many times, we can negotiate a reduction to Misdemeanor Petit Larceny so we can help our client avoid a felony conviction. We can accomplish this by having our client complete certain tasks prior to Court for purposes of mitigation. Specifically, we will have our client take a shoplifter's course and do community service. If the property has not yet been returned then we'll also work towards having the property returned.
In terms of "value," in many cases, the goods may be valued right around the $200 mark. If this is the case, then we will make the Commonwealth prove the value of the goods because you are entitled to the benefit of any depreciation of the goods. In addition, because Grand Larceny is a crime, the value must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt so the owner must appear in Court and be able to establish its fair market value as of the time of taking.
Finally, you cannot "accidentally" steal. We have had cases where the client paid for everything but forgot about a small item in their bag. You can see in the store video they were not looking around or being suspicious. Also, because the value of the item allegedly concealed was so small, and because they paid so much for the other items at the cashier, it was agreed that there was a reasonable doubt that they had stolen the item. It should be noted that going "past all points of sale" is considered prima facie evidence of an intent to steal. Therefore, if you are caught outside of the store or somewhere inside the first double-doors leaving the store, it will be a difficult case to prove a lack of intent. As noted above, however, it is still possible to lack the intent depending on the circumstances.
If you are facing a Grand Larceny charge in Fairfax County, contact a criminal defense attorney. We are in Court almost every single day and have represented thousands of people in the criminal justice system. We want to help you.