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Are you up to date on the meaning of larceny in Virginia?

Larceny has two forms in the state of Virginia: There is petty larceny, also known as petit larceny, and then there is grand larceny.

As you may imagine from the name, grand larceny is the more serious crime, but let us understand the similarities and differences between the two types and look at some examples.

The meaning of larceny

Larceny in any form has four main elements:

  •         The person who commits larceny must intend to take the property of another person for his or her own use. In other words, felonious intent must exist.
  •         The act of taking personal property must occur against the will of the owner.
  •         The taking must be from the possession, either actual or implied, of the owner.
  •         An actual carrying away of the personal property must occur.

Petty versus grand larceny

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, petty larceny is a class 1 misdemeanor. Law enforcement officers could charge you with this offense if they suspect you of stealing an item worth less than $200. If the item was worth $200 or more, they can charge you with grand larceny. The penalties for petty larceny include a fine of up to $2,500 and possible jail time of up to a year. With a conviction of grand larceny, which is a felony, you could be looking at prison time of up to 20 years.

Mounting a defense

Sometimes, the cause does not justify the punishment. If charged with larceny, whether it be a misdemeanor or a felony, take a look at your legal options without delay. An immediate and thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your arrest may turn up errors, irregularities or inconsistencies that could bolster your case. There are also legal avenues to explore with the goal of reducing the penalties you face, keeping you out of jail or having your case dismissed altogether.

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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