There are quite a few different behaviors that could lead to someone’s arrest and prosecution for a shoplifting offense in Virginia. The state penalizes acts ranging from placing objects inside other products to conceal them and changing price tags to simply running out of the store with items in one’s hands as shoplifting offenses. Any attempt to deprive a merchant of the full value of retail merchandise, even when unsuccessful, could constitute shoplifting.
Shoplifting is a type of larceny or theft crime, and the total value of the merchandise involved in the shoplifting incident will have a major impact on what consequences a convicted offender could face. People may face either misdemeanor or felony charges for shoplifting depending on whether the situation constitutes grand larceny or not.
$1,000 is the property crime cut-off in Virginia
The full retail value of the assets involved in the shoplifting incident determines what charges someone faces. If the property is worth less than $1,000, the individual accused will face a petit larceny charge. In Virginia, a conviction for petit larceny is a misdemeanor that could lead to up to a year in jail.
Once the total value of those assets reaches $1,000, the individual could face a felony offense instead of a misdemeanor petit larceny charge. Felony grand larceny carries up to 20 years in prison and $2,500 in fines. There are a few situations in which the value of the assets taken could be lower but the charges are still grand larceny. These include scenarios where the item stolen is a firearm.
A guilty plea won’t always limit consequences
People frequently plead guilty to what they perceive as minor criminal charges in Virginia with the expectation that state authorities will limit their consequences if they cooperate throughout the criminal justice process. Even if the state offers a plea to a lesser offense, the original charge could still show up on a background check and limit someone’s future opportunities. The sentence imposed will also depend on the perspective of the judge, and they might decide to impose harsher penalties than someone anticipated.
Learning more about the rules that apply to shoplifting and other self-defenses in Virginia may help those facing charges determine a response that uniquely safeguards their interests under the circumstances.