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Virginia felony theft laws changed

In early February 2018, Virginia passed a law regarding the felony threshold for larceny.

Larceny is defined as the taking property in the presence of another person usually without force or implication of fear. Larceny can include shoplifting and pickpocketing.

Due to inflation, the new standards raise minimum value of the stolen goods for felony larceny convictions so the law is more reasonable. Raising this value is designed to protect people from heavy felony convictions that can have significant negative impact on their futures.

New felony threshold law

This new law raises the felony value of goods for larceny from $200 to $500. The previous larceny threshold had not been changed since 1980 and was tied with New Jersey for the lowest in the country.

Prior to the new threshold, stealing goods valued at $200 or more would land you with a felony charge and up to 20 years in prison. Under the new law, this value was raised to $500. Stealing goods valued lower than $500 only gets you a misdemeanor.

What does this mean?

While all kinds of theft will scar your reputation, petty larceny is less severe. The new law means that the value of goods between petty larceny and grand larceny is higher than before. This is an effort to redesign the standards of a felony conviction.

Petty larceny in Virginia is a Class I misdemeanor. Getting caught stealing goods valued under $500 from a business now has a few different consequences. You could face a fine of up to $2,500, a year in jail or some of both, but not as much jail time as with a felony conviction.

The consequences of petty larceny are still serious. Larceny and theft of any kind is not to be taken lightly, though the new law is designed to make convictions less destructive to your future.

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