Fairfax Shoplifting Lawyer

In Fairfax, shoplifting is a serious offense. Shoplifting occurs when someone takes an item from a store, something that is meant and is marked for purchase, and they take it or they attempt to take it, without paying the price for it that is required and they remove it from the store.

In Virginia, the shoplifting laws are similar to the larceny laws in terms of penalties. Just as with regular larceny, if the item taken is less than $200, then it is considered a misdemeanor. Penalties for violating these laws can be extensive, so it is important to combat them early on. If you are facing charges, you should contact a Fairfax shoplifting attorney as soon as possible. An experienced theft attorney‘s help is essential in creating a strong defense.


If a stolen item is less than $200, it is a misdemeanor offense and it is up subject to 12 months in jail. Whereas, if it is more, then it is considered a felony and that is treated the same as grand larceny, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years. It is unlikely that a person would get that 20 years, but that is a worst-case scenario and that is what the legislature says that the maximum penalty can be.

For shoplifting offenses, the prosecution will have to establish that it was an item for sale and that someone did not purchase it, whereas larceny is often from another person or from another person’s property. Shoplifting in Fairfax differs from typical theft because it was a stolen item that was available through legal means by purchase.

Aggravating Factors

The more often a person does something, the harder it is for a judge to believe this was a bad decision or a one-time accident. Multiple or habitual offenses will aggravate penalties. In situations of a person’s third shoplifting offense, a shoplifting defense where the person had two prior larcenies, or where a person had two prior shoplifting charges, it will be considered a felony. Prosecutors have to show that the item was for sale, that this was somebody else’s merchandise and that the person wanted to take it as their own without paying the full price. A Fairfax shoplifting attorney can work hard to combat these allegations.

Defending Shoplifting

Some jurisdictions will allow a person to keep this off their record, if they have a clean record, by completing an intervention course or doing community service. A skilled shoplifting attorney in Fairfax would steer a person into that. An attorney will also talk to a prosecutor if a prosecutor’s involved and try to steer the person away from jail time and into some sort of probation, if possible.

An experienced attorney on these cases will often have to cross-examine people, eyewitnesses, such as people working in the store. They will know what questions to ask and if, for example, in a situation where someone had something and they were trying to pay for it but were arrested before being able to, the attorney can ask questions.

Contacting a Fairfax Shoplifting Attorney

A Fairfax shoplifting attorney often argues either that someone took it or they did not when building their defense. They will try to show, if possible, that the person never intended to take the item, that they had possession of it, they intended to purchase it, and they never had the opportunity. A lot of times, it is dependent on the facts of the case that may or may not be available. An attorney will have a good idea as to what kinds of things the judge likes to hear in terms of mitigation and that could make the difference between a probation and a conviction or a suspended sentence and an active jail sentence.