What is Considered Petty Larceny in Virginia?

Police car at night

When you steal something in Virginia it is punishable under the law. Larceny (theft), is the unlawful taking of property from one party by another with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it. Put simply, if you take something from someone else and have no intention of giving it back, you can be in serious trouble. 

Under state law, petty larceny, also referred to as “petit larceny,” occurs in the following conditions:

  • Petit larceny from the person

This occurs when someone is charged with taking either money or property from someone else and it has a value of less than $5. Larceny from the person is commonly known as “pickpocketing.” This can be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the property pickpocketed has a value of more than $5, is will be charged as a felony. 

  • Petit larceny based on the property’s value

This occurs when the value of the stolen property is less than $500. Larceny based on the property’s value is commonly known as “shoplifting.” This can be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the thief steals goods that are valued at $500 or more, they may be charged with a felony. 

What Are the Penalties?

If someone is convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor, they will receive:

  • A jail sentence of up to 12 months; and/or
  • A fine of up to $2,500.

If you are still unsure of what constitutes petty larceny in Virginia, here are some examples for which you can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor:

  • Stealing a pen valued at $4 from someone’s bag;
  • Taking $400 worth of goods from a store;
  • Taking your mom’s necklace worth $499;
  • Stealing $50 out of a cash register

Defenses to Petty Larceny

If you have been charged with petty larceny, the good news is that there are a number of defenses that you can assert. Such defenses include:

  • Receiving permission to take the property;
  • Being forced (under duress) to take the property;
  • Truly believing that the property was your own; and
  • That you were wrongfully accused and never took the property in question.

Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC Can Help Those in VA Who Have Been Charged with Petty Larceny

If you or a loved one has been charged with petty larceny, you should take it seriously as a conviction carries serious penalties. Just because you have been accused of a crime does not mean that you are guilty. You have the right to defend yourself. A knowledgeable and experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney can help you to do just that.  

At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we will help you to defend yourself and fight for the best outcome. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Criminal Law