Shoplifting Charges and Theft Crimes in Virginia

Things such as shoplifting, auto theft and/or any other crime where something is stolen from the owner without direct contact with the owner, or without entry into the owner’s home falls into the category of larceny. If there is direct contact with the owner or entry into the owner’s home, those instances could fall into the categories of robbery or burglary.

In Virginia, larceny is defined as a taking, not directly from a person, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the item. Virginia Code §18.2-95 and §18.2-96 defines whether the act will qualify as grand larceny or petit larceny. Among several other criteria, the main distinction between the two is the value of the item taken.

Under Virginia law, grand larceny is larceny of an item with a value of $200 or greater, while larceny of an item with a value of less than $200 is petit larceny.  Grand larceny also includes theft from the person of money or thing with a value of $5 or more or larceny of a firearm not from the person.  Petit larceny includes theft from the person of money or thing with a value less than $5.

Another significant distinction between grand larceny and petit larceny lies in the level of punishment.  Petit larceny is a Class 1 Misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2500 fine.  Grand larceny, on the other hand, is a felony with potential punishment of up to 20 years in jail.  Some jurisdictions offer first offender dispositions that can result in no conviction.