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What Are the Different Types of Theft-Related Offenses in Virginia?

What Are The Different Types Of Theft-Related Offenses In Virginia?

Regardless of the type of criminal charges you are facing in Virginia, it is essential to begin working with an aggressive Fairfax criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. When it comes to facing charges for theft and theft-related offenses, it is particularly important to have a Virginia defense lawyer on your side who can help you to understand the specific elements of the offense you are facing, the potential penalties upon conviction, and how the charges could impact you in the future. Theft and theft-related offenses can be confusing since there are so many different types of charges, and they can range significantly in terms of their severity.

The defense lawyers at our firm want to provide you with more information about theft offenses under Virginia law. The following are the major types of theft-related offenses, known as “larceny,” along with their potential penalties.

Grand Larceny

Grand larceny under Virginia law (Code of Va. § 18.2-95) can refer to many different types of theft, including stealing money or an object from a person (i.e., pickpocketing) worth $5 or more, or, effective July 1, 2020 stealing money or goods worth $1000 or more. Grand larceny can also be charged when a person steals a firearm, regardless of the value. This is a felony offense that can result in anywhere from one to 20 years of imprisonment, or up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Petit Larceny

Petit larceny is a less serious theft offense than grand larceny. Under Virginia law (Code of Va. § 18.2-96), a person commits petit larceny when they steal something worth under $5 from a person (i.e., pickpocketing), or, effective July 1st, 2020, when they steal something worth less than $1000 not from the person. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor that is punishable with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.


Shoplifting typically falls into one of the categories listed above of petit larceny or grand larceny depending upon the amount of the goods stolen, but it can specifically be charged under Code of Va. § 18.2-103, which is the crime of “concealing or taking possession of merchandise,” or “altering price tags,” for example.  Effective July 1st, 2020, a person who commits one of these types of theft offenses will be charged with petit larceny if the value of the goods is under $1000, and with grand larceny if the value of the goods is $1000 or more.

Larceny of Bank Notes and Checks

The theft of financial instruments is typically charged under Code of Va. § 18.2-98. Depending upon the value of the money or goods stolen, this offense will be charged either as petit larceny or grand larceny.

Stealing Animals and Poultry

Virginia has a specific law for the theft of animals and poultry. Under Code of Va. § 18.2-97, the theft of a dog, horse, pony, mule, cow, steer, bull, or calf is a Class 5 felony offense, while the theft of other types of farm animals is a Class 6 felony offense.

Seeking Assistance from an Experienced Fairfax Theft Defense lawyer

All theft offenses will result in a criminal record upon conviction. One of the Fairfax theft defense attorneys at our firm can help you to fight these charges and to seek an acquittal. Even if we cannot have the charges against you dropped and cannot get you an acquittal, it may be possible to have the charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, depending on the facts of your case. Contact Whitestone Young, PC today for more information.

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