Roanoke Criminal Defense Lawyer

The term theft is widely used to refer to crimes involving the taking of another person's property without their permission. While many states have consolidated theft offenses into a single statute, Virginia law refers to all theft and theft-related crimes as larceny, and has distinctions between petit and grand larceny, embezzlement, and larceny by false pretenses. Virginia also considers the following crimes theft:

  • Receiving stolen goods
  • Unauthorized use of an animal, aircraft, vehicle, or boat
  • Writing bad checks
  • Credit card theft
  • Identity theft
  • Theft of computer services
  • Welfare fraud

Which theft offense someone might be charged with depends upon the following factors:

  • The value of the property taken – under $200 for Petit Larceny (Class I Misdemeanor), over $200 for Grand Larceny (Felony)
  • The nature of the property
  • The intent of the suspect and the timeframe for that intent
  • The nature of the taking

What the Prosecution Must Prove

When someone is charged with theft in Virginia, the prosecution must typically prove that:

  • The defendant did not have the true owner's consent to take some unauthorized action with regard to the property in question
  • The defendant was really the person who committed the alleged illegal act
  • The value of the personal property was greater than or equal to a specified amount, for the purposes of establishing either a felony or misdemeanor charge

Civil Penalties

In addition to criminal penalties, a person who commits retail theft in Virginia may be civilly liable for:

  • Two times the retail value of the merchandise, or $50, whichever is greater (but if the store owner recovers the merchandise in a salable condition, the penalty will be no more than $350 total), and
  • The store owner's reasonable court costs and attorney fees in an amount of no more than $150.

Have you been charged with theft in Virginia? Roanoke criminal defense Attorney Robert F. Rider focuses his practice exclusively on criminal defense, and his main priority has always been the best interests of the client. Contact our firm online or call 540-685-0075 to schedule a free initial case evaluation today.