What Are the Differences Between Violent and Non-Violent Theft in VA?

the judge gavel and handcuffs

While we know that theft of any kind is wrong – and illegal, violent theft crimes are worse than non-violent theft crimes. Whether or not a theft crime is classified as violent or non-violent hinges on whether the theft involved the use of force by the defendant. 

Non-Violent Theft 

When someone commits a non-violent theft crime, the consequences that they will face are dependent upon the economic value of the property that has been stolen. The value of these goods categorizes the theft as either a misdemeanor or a felony. 

Non-violent theft crimes that involve property valued at over $500 will be ruled a felony and can be punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If the property is valued at under $500 it is considered a Class 1 Misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to 12 months in jail. However, if the accused has already been found guilty of two prior misdemeanors, this charge can be ruled as a felony – even if the goods stolen are valued at less than $500.

Acts Considered Non-Violent Theft Crimes

Non-violent theft crimes, commonly referred to as larceny, can include a variety of acts, such as:

  • Auto theft
  • Unauthorized use of a vehicle
  • Credit card fraud
  • Theft of services
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Shoplifting
  • Forgery
  • Writing bad checks
  • Petit larceny
  • Grand larceny

Violent Theft 

A violent crime occurs when assault or battery, use of a weapon, or another type of force occurs. Under Virginia law, assault is defined as an attempt or offer, with force or violence, to do bodily harm to another person. State law defines battery as any non-consensual or wanted, intentional touching. Assault and battery are considered Class 1 Misdemeanors in Virginia. 

Since a violent theft already involves two misdemeanors, the consequences for those found guilty of such an act will receive more serious penalties. Any of the aforementioned acts can be considered violent crimes if they include any force, such as assault, battery, or the use of a weapon. 

Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC Can Help Those in VA Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

The facts of each case are used to determine how a criminal act of theft will be classified and what the accompanying penalties will be. When you have been charged with a crime, it should be taken very seriously. A criminal conviction has the ability to impact just about every aspect of your life. That’s why it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney who has experience dealing with such charges and will work hard to defend your rights. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we will fight for you. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Criminal Law