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What is the law for shoplifting and theft in Virginia?

While major crimes in Virginia get attention in the news and with major police investigations, crimes that are considered lower level are even more common. This is because people are often more willing to take the risk to commit them. They might be under the impression that since they are not using a weapon, selling drugs, or involving themselves in crimes that are perceived as the worst imaginable, they will not be confronted with hefty penalties in the event they are arrested. This is an error in judgment.

One such crime is shoplifting. It is important for people to understand the law and what penalties they can face if they are charged and convicted for shoplifting. After all, this offense goes beyond simply putting a small item in one's pocket. If a person takes an item without paying the full price for it and does so to use for him or herself or for another to use, it is a crime. There are three categories in which a person can be arrested for this type of theft.

Actions fall under this law under the following circumstances: if the person conceals or takes the item from the store or other establishment and does so willfully; if the person changes a price tag or another marking denoting price on items in the store, or transfers the items into a different container; or if the person provides counsel, assistance, or aids and abets another person to commit any of these acts, it will result in an arrest.

If the value of the merchandise is less than $500, it will be a crime of petit larceny. If the value is $500 or more, it will be grand larceny. Should the person have the items concealed while still in the establishment, it will be considered sufficient evidence for a conviction that there was an intent to take the items and defraud the establishment.

Being arrested for any reason is cause for concern. Criminal charges can lead to various penalties, cost money in fines, and even lead to incarceration. While these charges might sound lower level and therefore less serious, it is not beneficial to have a criminal record for theft. Defending against these charges is critical if an individual hopes to avoid penalties and protect his or her reputation. A law firm experienced in shoplifting and theft cases may be able to help create a legal strategy that seeks a favorable outcome.

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