The term larceny is another word for stealing. Larceny is the taking and carrying away of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner the use or benefit of that property or with the intent to steal that property. The larceny must be against the wishes of the owner of the property in question. That definition of larceny applies to grand larceny and petit larceny.
In Virginia, grand larceny is a felony. In addition to proving that the accused stole an item, the Commonwealth (who is the prosecuting authority) must prove the value of the goods was equal to or exceeded $200, was a firearm, or the item was equal to or exceed $5 (which is often referred to as larceny from the person) and was taken from the person directly.
If the Commonwealth proves all of those elements, or components, of the crime, then the accused may be found guilty of grand larceny. After the person is convicted of grand larceny, the judge or the jury can penalize the defendant by sentencing him or her to no less than one but no more than 20 years committed to the state prison or no more than twelve months in jail.
Petit larceny is a misdemeanor. The components of the crime are the same as grand larceny. The difference between the two crimes is the value of the property stolen. Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A person convicted of petit larceny faces no more than twelve months incarceration in jail.
It is important to note that punishments can increase depending on whether the defendant’s prior record shows previous convictions for larceny.
Virginia has criminalized other forms of larceny. For example, shoplifting or concealing merchandise is a type of larceny. Virginia law recognizes three forms of shoplifting. The first is conversion, which is also known as stealing, by leaving the store without paying for the item. The second is concealing merchandise or altering price tags or containers with the intent to defraud the store owner. The third form of shoplifting is assisting another commit shoplifting.
Shoplifting can be prosecuted as either grand larceny or petit larceny, and the potential punishments are the same as traditional larceny.
In addition to shoplifting, there are other forms of larceny. While grand larceny encompasses theft of a motor vehicle, Virginia law recognizes the use of a motor vehicle without proper authority. The difference between this crime and grand larceny of a motor vehicle is that use without authority is more like joyriding or driving a car with the intention of returning it to its rightful owner.
Defenses To Larceny
The accused always has the right to make the government proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt. You can take the case to trial and hold the government to its burden. If the prosecution cannot prove every single element of every count, then you must be acquitted. Sometimes people make honest mistakes and evidence that you made an honest mistake could make the difference for you.
Where To Turn For Help
Attorney Patricia Hardt can help you in your time of need. Call her today at 757-962-5588 to set up an appointment to discuss your case and devise a strategy that works for you.