Police Officer Holding Handcuffs and a Small Shopping CartShoplifting is a common offense in the Commonwealth of Virginia that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If you are convicted of this crime, you would face harsh punishments and also would have to deal with the long-term consequences of having a permanent criminal record. However, you may have options that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.

What Is Shoplifting in Virginia?

Shoplifting is a property crime in our state and is punished like larceny. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-103, it is a crime to willfully conceal or possess goods from a store without paying the full price for them or otherwise defrauding the owner of the full value of the goods. This crime can be committed by doing any of the following:

  • Willfully concealing or possessing goods or merchandise of a store
  • Altering a price tag or other price marking on goods or merchandise or moving them to another container
  • Counseling, aiding, or abetting another individual in performing one of the acts listed above

Penalties for Shoplifting in Virginia

Whether you would be charged with a misdemeanor or felony would depend on the value of the goods or merchandise taken. The offense would be petit larceny, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, if the value of what was stolen is less than $1,000. You would be charged with grand larceny, which is an unclassified felony, if the value is $1,000 or more. Here are the potential punishments for each:

  • Petit larceny. You could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.
  • Grand larceny. Your punishment may be up to 20 years in prison. However, the judge or jury would have the discretion to punish you as if you committed petit larceny.

You could face more severe penalties if this is not your first conviction for petit or grand larceny.

Have you been charged with shoplifting in Virginia? Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers can mount a strong defense for you so that you achieve the best possible outcome given your circumstances. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Manassas office or start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.


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