Being accused of any crime is disconcerting and frightening. Any conviction will have some effect on your life, but certain crimes could close certain doors to you forever. For instance, if you stand accused of larceny, not only could you face criminal penalties, but the ramifications to your personal and professional lives could prove disastrous.
Virginia follows the common law definition of larceny, which is, in summary, the unlawful taking of another person’s property without his or her permission with the intent of depriving the other person of the property in question. Larceny is broken up “grand” and “petit” larceny. Understanding the difference is the first step in understanding what penalties you could face if convicted.
Here in Virginia, a charge of petit larceny means that the value of the property you allegedly took is not worth more than $200, unless authorities accuse you of taking property off someone’s person. If that is the charge, then the value does not have to be more than $5 and may mean a charge of grand larceny. If convicted, you could face penalties applicable to a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means you could spend up to 12 months in jail and pay no more than $2,500 in fines.
A charge of grand larceny means that the value of the property authorities claim you took has a value of $200 or more, or that you stole a firearm of any value or took property worth as little as $5 off someone’s person, such as in a purse snatching or mugging. If convicted of this crime, you could face prison time ranging from one to 20 years.
What you can do if you face charges
Whether authorities suspect you of petit or grand larceny, a conviction could prevent you from obtaining certain employment. A felony conviction could also keep you from certain housing and educational options, among other things.
If police suspect you of larceny, you do not have to wait for an arrest before exercising your right to an attorney. The sooner you gain an understanding of your rights, the better off you may be. A criminal defense attorney will review your circumstances, examine the alleged evidence, and let you know what course of action he or she believes would provide you with the best outcome possible.