A Shoplifting Lawyer Fairfax, Va Explains Virginia Criminal Law
I’m a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, Va. Let me explain the law to you. In Virginia, the legal term for shoplifting is “Larceny.” To convict a person for the crime of larceny or shoplifting, the prosecutor must prove (1) that the defendant took personal property belonging to another and carried it away; (2) that the taking was against the will and without the consent of the owner; and (3) that the taking was with the intent to steal. A shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, Va will put up defenses against these elements where possible.
Note: Our lawyers practice in Fairfax, and all other counties of Virginia. We have offices in Fairfax, Arlington, and Staunton. We reference Fairfax, Va. in this article because it is the largest jurisdiction in Virginia with the most rigid procedures. Work done to Fairfax standards meets or exceeds the standards in every other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth, so it is common to use it as a benchmark.
A good shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, Va will carefully review the prosecutor’s case to ensure that each element of the crime is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, a shoplifting defendant may have inadvertently and without the intent to steal taken property from a store. Or, perhaps a shoplifting lawyer can raise doubt as to the owner’s consent (e.g. did the store let the defendant go outside to test the sunglasses prior to purchasing at the time of the alleged incident. And of course, if it was not you who was in the store at the time of the alleged shoplifting, a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, Va can challenge whether you should have been charged at all.
However, another key issue in shoplifting cases is the overall value of the property that is alleged to have been stolen. If the value of the allegedly stolen property was worth $200.00 or more, or the item was a firearm, the shoplifting is charged as the felony of “Grand Larceny,” with a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. If the value of the allegedly stolen property was worth less than $200.00, the shoplifting is charged as the misdemeanor of “Petit Larceny,” with a maximum punishment of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.00. The stakes are extremely high and having a good shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, Va is very important. For example, challenging the prosecutor as to the value of the goods at issue alone could literally be the difference in years of incarceration.
In Virginia, a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, Va not only defends shoplifting charges of Petit or Grand Larceny under Virginia Codes § 18.2-95 and § 18.2-96, respectively—he or she must also defend clients who are charged under Virginia Code § 18.2-103 – “concealment.” Virginia Code § 18.2-103 sets forth specific types of activities that might occur in a store that can be charged as shoplifting. Specifically, Virginia Code § 18.2-103 covers instances where a defendant is alleged to have “(i) willfully conceal[ed] or tak[en] possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, or (ii) alter[ed] the price tag or other price marking on such goods or merchandise, or transfer[ed] the goods from one container to another, or (iii) counsel[ed], assist[ed], aid[ed] or abet[ed] another in the performance of any of the above acts.” The statute goes on to state that “The willful concealment of goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, while still on the premises thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to convert and defraud the owner thereof out of the value of the goods or merchandise.” (As you will learn from your shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, Va, “prima facie evidence” means enough evidence to secure a conviction unless the defense can present evidence to counter that.)
Accordingly, when someone is charged with shoplifting under Virginia Code § 18.2-103, the prosecutor may have an easier case because if he or she can show “willful concealment,” he or she will more easily establish intent. A skilled shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, Va will need to work diligently in such a case to protect the client’s interest.
Shoplifting in Virginia is a serious charge. If you are charged with shoplifting, it is important to have a top shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, Va on your side to protect your interests.