Petit Larceny: Va. Code § 18.2-96

What is Petit Larceny in the Virginia Code?

“Any person who: 1. Commits Larceny from the person of another of money or other things of value of less than $5, or 2. Commits Simple Larceny not from the person of another of goods and chattels of the value of less than $500…shall be deemed guilty of petit larceny, which shall be punishable as a Class 1 Misdemeanor.”

Va Code. § 18.2-96

What does this mean for you?

Virginia defines all theft and theft-related crimes as “Larceny,” which includes both Petit and Grand Larceny. The difference between those two is based upon the dollar amount in controversy. You can be charged with Petit Larceny for taking less than $5 from a person or goods from a store worth less than $500.

How is Petit Larceny Punished?

If convicted, Petit Larceny is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. In Virginia, Class 1 Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of not more than $2,500, or both. And that’s not all. If convicted of this charge, you might have civil liabilities on top of the criminal conviction. (Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-44.4(a)). “A merchant may recover civil judgment against any adult who shoplifts from that merchant for two times the unpaid retail value of the merchandise, but in no event an amount less than $50. However, if the merchant recovers the merchandise in merchantable condition, he shall be entitled to liquidated damages of no more than $350.”

“A merchant may recover civil judgment against any adult who shoplifts from that merchant for two times the unpaid retail value of the merchandise, but in no event an amount less than $50. However, if the merchant recovers the merchandise in merchantable condition, he shall be entitled to liquidated damages of no more than $350.”

Va. Code Ann 8.01-44.4(a)

The Exception: Felony Petty Larceny

While petty larceny is generally a misdemeanor, a third larceny offense is a Class 6 felony.

“When a person is convicted of an offense of larceny or any offense deemed as larceny … and it is alleged in the warrant, indictment or information on which he is convicted … that he has been before convicted … for any offense of larceny … regardless of whether the prior convictions were misdemeanors, felonies or a combination thereof … and for a third, or any subsequent offense, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.”

Va. Code Ann. 18.2-104

Should I get an Attorney?

An attorney is crucial in Larceny cases. There are several things to consider before taking a plea or accepting guilt to the charge. A criminal record in Virginia cannot be expunged. This can have an effect on future employment, immigration status, as well as school applications.

Further, if this is your third or subsequent larceny offense in Virginia, it will automatically be charged as a Class 6 Felony regardless of the dollar amount involved.

Attorneys in this office have successfully had Petit Larceny charges amended, reduced, or even dropped. Further, they have helped their clients successfully navigate the first offender’s program offered to people with no history of larceny on their record. Contact us today for a consultation.