Virginia Petit Theft Defense Attorney

All too often, citizens of Virginia make the mistake of not taking petit theft (also known as petit larceny) charges seriously. Petit theft charges are relegated to items of a small value that are stolen, and most people think of this as the “shoplifting” charge (petit theft and shoplifting are two separate charges). Even taking something as small as a candy bar or empty wallet can stay on a person’s record for years if they are convicted. At Randall Page, P.C., our dedicated and experienced team is standing by to help when you need a Virginia petit theft defense attorney. Let us help ensure that this violation does not stay on your record for years to come due to a conviction.

Defining petit larceny in Virginia

When we turn to Virginia Code § 18.2-96, we can see the law specifically states a person commits petit theft if they:

  • Commits larceny from the person of another of money or other things of value of less than $5, or
  • Commits simple larceny, not from the person of another of goods and chattels of the value of less than $1000 shall be deemed guilty of petit larceny

Petit theft from a “person” involves taking something off of another person’s belongings or body. This can include pickpocketing something out of somebody’s backpack or purse, or even taking something out of another person’s hand. However, if the item taken is worth more than $5, the charge will be considered grand larceny, not petit larceny.

Defining shoplifting in Virginia

Many people confuse petit larceny charges with shoplifting in Virginia, but the reality is that these are separate charges. In Virginia, shoplifting is considered “concealing or taking possession of the merchandise.” When we turn to Virginia Code § 18.2-103, we can see that it is illegal for any person who has not paid the full price of merchandise in the store to:

  • Willfully conceal or take possession of the goods
  • Alter the price tag on merchandise or goods
  • Assist others in performing these actions

Penalties for petit theft and shoplifting in Virginia

Petit larceny and shoplifting of items valued at less than $1,000 is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor offense in Virginia. Penalties for a conviction of these offenses could include up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

However, an additional conviction of a misdemeanor offense for larceny or a substantially similar offense carries a minimum of 30 days in jail. If a person receives a third or subsequent misdemeanor shoplifting or larceny conviction, this will be considered a Class 6 felony offense that could result in a prison sentence of up to five years.

Contact our Virginia petty theft defense attorney immediately

If you or a loved one are facing petit theft charges in Lawrenceville, Emporia, Suffolk, or Courtland, reach out to the team at Randall Page, P.C. as soon as possible. We have the experience and resources necessary to conduct a complete investigation into the charges against you and work to get them reduced or dismissed altogether. Let us help ensure that you do not end up with a criminal record that follows you around for something like petit theft or shoplifting. When you need a Virginia petit theft defense attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling 757-517-8956.

Virginia Petit Theft Defense Attorney Legal Team

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