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Differences between petty theft, shoplifting and grand theft

Burglary carries serious penalties whether it took place in a private home or a business. A Virginia man who burglarized several homes during the 2016 holiday season was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison, nine of which he has to serve. 

People should fight any theft charges brought against them. When going through trial, many people realize they are unfamiliar with the proper terminology in these cases. It is simple to make sense of everything so that a client perfectly understands what an attorney says. 

What is the difference between petty theft and shoplifting?

There is no difference between shoplifting and petty theft. Both describe an instance of a person stealing something less than $200 in the state of Virginia. In other states, the maximum value amount may be different.

Police officers, lawyers and judges refer to this crime as petty theft, and it is the official term for this crime. Shoplifting is more of a colloquial expression for the same act. 

What is the difference between petty theft and grand larceny?

Petty theft occurs when a person steals something worth less than $200, and grand theft occurs when someone steals something worth more than $200.

Another big difference is that petty theft is a misdemeanor while grand larceny is a felony. In Virginia, a petty theft conviction can lead to a maximum of one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. However, that is only if this is a person's first conviction.

For grand theft, a person could face anywhere between one year and 20 years in prison for a conviction. Someone facing a grand theft charge could potentially have the charge reduced based on the value of the stolen item. For instance, if the item stolen cost $250, then a judge may provide a more lenient sentence. Keep in mind that does not always happen, and it is good to always have an experienced attorney. 

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

criminal defense & Social security disability law

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