Virginia Theft Lawyer

Theft can take many forms.  The basic premise of all theft cases involves the unlawful taking of another’s rightful property, but the means by how the crime is committed plays a role in the applicable charges and associated penalties for the crime.  With so many factors to take into account, it helps to retain a Virginia theft lawyer who can cut through the legal static and provide a strong defense strategy for you in your time of need.

The attorneys at our firm have extensive experience litigating theft crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which means that they are great legal resources to call upon when your back is against the wall.  There are so many ways that a skilled Virginia theft lawyer can help clients, including:

    • Laying out defense options and explaining the possible implications of each one
    • Carefully investigating the case in order to identify possible weaknesses in the prosecution
    • Establishing reasonable doubt as to whether any alleged acts took place (or took place intentionally)
    • Acting as a sounding board, adviser, negotiator, and avid defender

Call our legal team today and conduct your free initial consultation.  You may be surprised at how many defense options are open to you, so don’t delay.

Types of Theft in Virginia

The theft may take place through deception and falsification, as is the case with fraud and embezzlement.  Theft by force or with the use of a deadly weapon is often classified as robbery.  Taking goods with no intent to pay, such as shoplifting, is another form of theft.  While most theft crimes are classified as “Crimes Against Property,” offenses in which theft occurs by force, such as armed robbery and carjacking, are typically “Crimes Against the Person.”

Another factor for consideration in cases of theft is the value of the property, goods, or services which were unlawfully obtained.  In Virginia, theft is often referred to as larceny, and may be classified as either petit larceny or grand larceny.  Petit larceny, or petty theft, occurs when the value of stolen goods is less than $500.  Theft of anything valued at more than $500 is considered grand larceny.  While a grand larceny conviction is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years, even petty theft is subject to incarceration for up to 12 months.

If you have been charged with a theft crime, act quickly to secure legal representation.  A Northern Virginia theft lawyer can advise clients about how to proceed throughout the course of an investigation and can develop an effective defense to help protect his or her client from errant or unnecessary charges.


Embezzlement is a white collar crime in which an individual in a trusted capacity illegally diverts or keeps funds or goods for his or her own personal use or to give to another party who is not the rightful owner.  Falsification of records and illicitly-altered bookkeeping are often methods by which money is “skimmed” from a business, company, or organization.  Often, embezzlement takes place over a period of time, where small – and hopefully undetectable – values are set aside and accumulated gradually. Sometimes, on the other hand, embezzlement involves large sums of funds or property which are taken at once.

As with grand and petit larceny, the charges and penalties for embezzlement depend upon the value of misappropriated money or property.  If the value of illegally-obtained property is greater than $500, it is a felony offense punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. For embezzlement of less than $500, the offense is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to 1 year in jail. Embezzlement involving a federal agency or an organization that receives federal funding is a federal offense subject to prosecution by the United States.

In an age of electronic information and big data, the evidence pertaining to certain embezzlement cases may be misconstrued or over inflated to the detriment of the defendant.  However, a Virginia theft lawyer who has experience defending clients accused of embezzlement can identify a lack of intent on the part of the defendant, or even demonstrate that the evidence presented by the prosecution is unreliable or insufficient.

Fraud Offenses

The use of deception to gain illegitimate possession of the funds or property of another party is a crime known as fraud. Fraud is a common form of theft which impacts millions of individuals, businesses, and organizations each year.  While some acts of fraud are small scale cons, others involve complicated schemes to obtain funds from large corporations or even the U.S. government.

There is no shortage of fraud cases that pass through the judicial system each year. A Virginia theft attorney can represent clients facing a variety of fraud charges, including:

    • Bank fraud
    • Real estate fraud
    • Insurance fraud
    • Medicare/Medicaid fraud
    • Wire fraud
    • Credit card fraud
    • Identity theft

Fraud cases which involve government funds, such as Medicare/Medicaid fraud, are considered federal offenses and may be tried in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District or Western District of Virginia.


The Criminal Code of Virginia addresses shoplifting under Section 18.2-103.  This statute indicates that the assumed intent to steal goods, not only the actual theft thereof, is punishable by law.  The penalties upon conviction are the same as those for petit larceny and grand larceny, as previously stated, which includes a fine of up to $2,500 and a term of incarceration fitting with the crime. Although shoplifting charges may seem minor due to the way they’re portrayed in the media, a shoplifting conviction can still result in a permanent criminal record. Call a NoVa theft attorney if you’d like to learn more about how to respond to your shoplifting charges.

Automobile Theft

Motor vehicle theft is, by definition, the taking of another’s vehicle with the intent to permanently deprive that owner of his or her vehicle.  A teenager who sneaks out in his parents’ vehicle with the intent of returning home later may have serious consequences to face, but is not guilty of textbook “car theft.”  Someone who takes another person’s car with no intent of returning it – whether keeping it for himself, stripping the vehicle for parts, or selling or transferring possession to another – may be prosecuted for this offense.

Theft of a motor vehicle falls under the same classifications as other forms of theft, however since most motor vehicles are valued at more than $500, most often, auto theft is charged as grand larceny and is subject to a $2,500 fine and between 12 months and 20 years behind bars.

Basic auto theft differs from carjacking, in that carjacking involves the forcible taking of a vehicle.  Whether brute strength, threats, or a deadly weapon is used, carjacking is considered a violent crime and is a felony offense which is punishable by 15 years to life in prison.

Theft Defense Representation in Virginia

“Assumed intent” plays a huge role in the prosecution of theft crimes.  Aggressive criminal defense attorney will listen to his or her client to understand the “big picture” and will work diligently to oppose the prosecution’s claims.  In some cases, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea agreement to achieve reduced charges and lighter sentencing options.

By working closely with a Virginia theft lawyer, you can find out more about your rights in the legal process and develop a strategic plan to achieve the best possible results under the circumstances.