“Porch Pirates” ‒ What Are the Penalties for Package Theft?
Package theft is a rampant problem. Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers deliver millions of packages to homes in the U.S. daily. Some packages are inexpensive trinkets. Some packages are expensive electronics or even necessary medications.
Some states have introduced laws intended to curb package theft. Typically, those laws classify package theft, whatever the value of the stolen items, as a felony. The Virginia legislature has not yet done so. The penalties for a package theft conviction in Virginia are based on the value of the stolen items.
Our attorneys believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have been arrested for or charged with package theft, there are ways to seek reduced charges or sentences.
Penalties for Felony Theft
Virginia law calls theft “larceny.” Package theft in Virginia is a type of larceny, and Virginia law classifies it as either petite larceny or grand larceny.
Whether theft is grand larceny or petty larceny depends upon the value of what was allegedly stolen. In 2020, Virginia raised the grand larceny threshold from $500 to $1,000. If the stolen package is worth $1,000 or more, the theft qualifies as grand larceny.
Grand larceny is a felony. Its maximum sentence is up to 20 years in prison and a $2,500 fine. Petty larceny is a misdemeanor. While the penalties are less severe, a theft misdemeanor conviction can still significantly affect your life and opportunities. A defendant convicted of petite larceny can serve up to 12 months in jail and be fined $2,500.
Further, a Virginia misdemeanor theft can become an aggravated charge and rise to the level of a felony. If a person already has two prior theft convictions and is charged with committing a third theft, the Commonwealth can charge that person with felony theft, even if the value of the stolen item(s) would not otherwise rise to the felony level.
How Has Technology Affected Package Theft Prosecution?
Homeowners often have evidence of package theft. Many homeowners now install cameras on their doors, front porches, and even doorbells to observe traffic to their homes. The camera records when someone delivers the package. And the camera records when someone steals it. Police can use video surveillance in many homes to catch the thief. Homeowners also crowd-source the effort, uploading the video onto social media and asking the community to help identify the thief.
Contact a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The Virginia criminal law attorneys at Whitestone Young, PC, believe in fighting for the rights of anyone arrested or charged with a crime in Virginia. We have defended clients charged with crimes for over 40 years. Even if you feel the evidence is against you, there are ways to plead your best case. Call us at 703-591-0200 or click here for a free consultation. Our experienced Fairfax, Virginia, criminal defense lawyers are standing by to discuss your legal options and how we can help.