If you are charged with a theft, robbery, larceny, or trespassing crime in Virginia, you should not take your situation lightly. You may face a felony charge that carries a lengthy prison sentence and large fines—and leaves you with a permanent criminal record. However, with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to fight the charges and get them dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
Theft, Robbery, Larceny, and Trespass Crimes and Penalties
In Virginia, theft, robbery, and larceny crimes can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. For some crimes, whether the offense is a felony or misdemeanor can depend on the value of the property that was taken. Following are some of the most common crimes and the corresponding penalties:
- Burglary. Burglary is a very specific crime in the Commonwealth. An individual can be charged with burglary for breaking and entering into a home at night with the intent to steal an item or commit a felony. This is a Class 3 felony if no deadly weapon is used with a possible penalty of 5 to 20 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine. It would be charged as a Class 2 felony if the burglary involved the use of a deadly weapon. The penalty increases to 20 years to life in prison with the same possible fine.
- Statutory burglary. Statutory burglary covers other types of burglaries and is classified depending on whether breaking and entering were involved, what time of day the crime occurred, the type of building involved, and what the person intended to do in the building. Depending on what the intent was—to murder, rape, violently rob, commit arson, commit another felony, or commit an assault and battery—statutory burglary can be classified as a Class 2 or Class 3 felony with similar penalties as for burglary.
- Robbery. Robbery is a serious felony crime that involves taking property from an individual or business while using or threatening force. Striking or beating someone, assaulting a person, brandishing a weapon, or otherwise putting the victim in fear of bodily harm are examples of the use of force that must be shown in order to be convicted of this crime. The penalty for a conviction is five years to life in prison.
- Larceny. You may face larceny—also known as petit larceny—charges if the item stolen was valued at less than $500 and was not a firearm. If the value of the goods stolen was more than $500 or was a firearm valued at more than $5, you could be charged with grand larceny. Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500. A conviction for grand larceny may result in a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, but the judge or jury has the discretion to reduce the sentence to one year.
- Shoplifting. Shoplifting is a form of larceny where the individual takes actions, such as altering price tags or taking or concealing merchandise or goods without the intent of paying for them or to defraud the owner. The crime is charged as petit larceny if the value of the goods is under $500 and as grand larceny if the value exceeds $500. The penalties are the same as for other larceny offenses.
- Trespassing. Trespassing is the entering or remaining on another’s property without permission. There are many different trespass crimes depending on the type of property and actions committed: trespass after being forbidden to do so, trespass at night at a cemetery, and trespass upon church or school property are a few of these crimes. They are generally Class 1 through Class 4 misdemeanor offenses that can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence of up to 12 months.
Contact Our Fairfax Law Office Today for Help With the Charges You Face
If you are facing any of these or other criminal charges, a skilled criminal defense attorney can evaluate the prosecutor’s case against you, explain the criminal justice process so you know what to expect, and help you build a strong defense. Our experienced legal team is here to aggressively fight for your rights and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your specific situation. We invite you to contact us today to take advantage of our free consultation.