A Shoplifting Lawyer Fairfax, Va Explains Virginia Criminal Law
Dave Albo Attorney is a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, VA trusts. 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 relies on will develop defense strategies against these elements when possible.
Note: Our lawyers practice in Fairfax, and all other counties in 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.
Choose Dave Albo Attorney to Help Manage Your Shoplifting Case
If you have recently been charged with shoplifting, chances are you are wondering whether to contact Dave Albo Attorney for help in resolving the matter at hand. Dave Albo Attorney is a shoplifting lawyer in Fairfax, VA that you can trust. When someone intentionally removes merchandise from a storefront, they have committed a crime. Shoplifting is a form of larceny that can vary in severity depending upon a number of factors. Facing a theft charge can be a cumbersome process. However, having a clearer understanding of the consequences, and knowing how best to move forward can be helpful when facing a shoplifting charge.
While larceny laws can vary depending upon the state you live, working with a shoplifting lawyer from Fairfax, VA can help to outline the potential consequences you stand to face. Shoplifting from a storefront can take on a variety of forms such as:
- Taking items without paying for them
- Switching out price tags
- Consuming a product in a store and failing to pay for it
- Returning items that have been worn or used
In Virginia, a shoplifting lawyer in Fairfax, VA can look to defend shoplifting charges of Petit or Grand Larceny under Virginia Codes § 18.2-95 and § 18.2-96, respectively. A Fairfax, Va shoplifting lawyer 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 taken[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 another 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.” A shoplifting lawyer from Fairfax, VA can help you to better understand the meaning of “prima facie evidence.”
Prima facie evidence means there must be sufficient enough evidence to secure a conviction. It will be up to a shoplifting lawyer in Fairfax, Va to counter the evidence. When someone is charged with shoplifting under Virginia Code § 18.2-103, the prosecutor may have an easier case. If a prosecutor can show “willful concealment,” he or she may have the ability to establish intent. A Fairfax, VA shoplifting lawyer with experience, will need to work diligently in such a case to protect the client’s interest.
When charged with a crime such as shoplifting, it’s important to work with a shoplifting lawyer from Fairfax, VA for guidance. A Fairfax, VA shoplifting lawyer can carefully review the prosecutor’s case to ensure that each element of the crime is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A shoplifting defendant may have inadvertently, and without the intent to steal, taken property from a store. As a result, a lawyer may raise doubt as to the owner’s consent. For example, if the defendant was permitted by the store owner to test a pair of sunglasses outside prior to purchasing at the time of the alleged incident. A shoplifting lawyer may challenge whether you should have been charged at all by arguing that you were not in the store at the time of the alleged shoplifting.
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 may be charged as “Grand Larceny.” “Grand Larceny” is a felony, with a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. If the value of the allegedly stolen property was worth less than $500.00 (Note: on July 1, 2020 a new law goes into effect raising this threshold to $1000), shoplifting is charged as “Petit Larceny.” “Petit Larceny” is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.00. The stakes are extremely high, because of this, having a shoplifting lawyer in Fairfax, VA that residents can rely on is very important. Challenging the prosecutor as to the value of the goods at issue alone could make a difference when facing incarceration.
Tips for Managing Your Case
A shoplifting charge certainly calls for the help of a shoplifting lawyer from Fairfax, VA. You will want to make sure that you do not make any missteps that could be potentially damaging to your case. Here are some tips to ensure that the legal process is as seamless as possible:
- Do not run from store security. If you are detained for shoplifting in a store, it’s important that you cooperate. Making attempts to get away could only further incriminate you. In some cases, if you have been detained illegally, a Fairfax, VA shoplifting lawyer may be able to use this to your advantage in the courtroom.
- Make sure that you have the representation of a lawyer before speaking with law enforcement. The presence of a lawyer can ensure that you do not do, or say anything that could be potentially damaging to your case.
- Refrain from discussing your legal case with anyone other than your lawyer. Keep in mind that anything you do or say could be used against you.
- Be proactive. Do not wait to take action. The earlier you are able to contact a lawyer, the better chance you have of protecting yourself.
- Work with a shoplifting lawyer in Fairfax, VA so that you can be fully aware of your legal rights and the process that lies ahead.
Managing a shoplifting case is a sobering process. This type of charge is best managed when working with Dave Albo Attorney, a Fairfax, VA shoplifting lawyer. If you find that you have been charged with larceny, contact a shoplifting lawyer from Fairfax, VA as soon as possible. This will be key to ensuring that an attorney with experience is building a strong legal defense for your case. Shoplifting in Virginia is a serious charge. If you are charged with shoplifting, it is important to have a Fairfax, VA shoplifting lawyer on your side to protect your interests. Learn more about Theft Criminal Defense Cases and how Dave Albo Attorney will strive to represent you.
A Fairfax VA Shoplifting Lawyer You Can Rely On
Have you been accused of shoplifting? Dave Albo Attorney may be able to help you to get your charges reduced or dropped. To learn how a shoplifting lawyer in Fairfax VA can be your legal advocate, give us a call today.
Being arrested for shoplifting can be devastating and cause you to feel an immense number of emotions ranging from anger, confusion, sadness, and regret. You may be unfamiliar with the legal system or have concerns about your rights. In the back of your mind, you might know that if you’re convicted, you could lose your freedom, family, or job.
Immediately Following a Shoplifting Arrest
After being arrested and charged, you should be read your Miranda rights which informs you of your right to have a lawyer. At this time you can choose to represent yourself, talk to the police without a lawyer, or ask for a private or public lawyer. In general, the best choice will be to retain a Fairfax VA shoplifting lawyer who can protect and defend your rights to the fullest. If you have not spoken to the police, or plead guilty, it is advisable to speak with a lawyer before anything else. Call [Dave Albo Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your charges.
Types of Shoplifting Crimes
There are several different types of shoplifting crimes. Depending on the charges, you might face a misdemeanor or felony. Both carry consequences, but the latter can include penalties that could change your life forever. It is a smart choice to seek legal counsel to fight for your rights and help you to avoid some of the harsher punishments.
Consequences for Shoplifting Crimes
If you are found guilty of shoplifting in Virginia, you could face penalties such as the following:
- Jail or prison time
- Restitution, fines, and court fees
- Community service
- A permanent criminal record
In addition to these penalties, collateral consequences may result:
- Loss of a professional license
- Difficulty to obtain employment
- Inability to rent an apartment or house
- Disentitlement to certain state and federal benefits
- Child custody problems
- Inability to travel to certain countries
- Negative reputation among family, friends, and the community
Without a Fairfax, VA shoplifting lawyer on your side, there is a good chance of suffering the harshest consequences if you are found guilty. By retaining a lawyer, even with his or her legal fees, you could save money in the long run. You may also benefit from things like:
- A lawyer knows the legal environment and the latest laws
- You’ll be properly informed about your rights, charges, and potential consequences
- Paperwork can be correctly taken care of so that there are no mistakes or delays
- You reduce your risk of being taken advantage of
- A property crimes lawyer will have your back
- You can receive technical and emotional support
A shoplifting charge is a serious offense in Virginia. Often there are weak points in a prosecutor’s case or factors that could be of benefit to your defense. Whether your actions were an innocent mistake, a misunderstanding, an accident, or simply untrue, we are ready to fight for your rights and get you the best results possible.
To meet with a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax, VA clients recommend from Dave Albo Attorney, call our office today.
Myths About Shoplifting
The crime of “shoplifting” in Virginia is technically called “larceny.” There are two main classes of larceny – “grand” and “petit.” The only difference between the two is the amount of money alleged to be stolen. If the stolen property is worth $500 (on July 1, 2020 a new law in Virginia raises this threshold to $1000) or more, the crime is Grand Larceny, a felony. If the value is less than this, the crime is Petit Larceny, a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for Grand Larceny is – you’d better sit down – 20 years in prison. There is no mandatory minimum sentence. The maximum punishment for Petit Larceny is one year and a $2,500 fine. Despite, the fact that Virginia calls “shoplifting” “larceny,” this article will use the more colloquial term “shoplifting.”
Here are some common myths about shoplifting from a shoplifting lawyer, Fairfax VA:
MYTH ONE: Shoplifting is Not that Big of a Deal.
While it is true that few people convicted of shoplifting get much (if any) jail time, some do. Some judges will routinely impose a short jail sentence to reinforce the seriousness of the crime. Most don’t. In fact, the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines recommend probation-only for a single count of Grand Larceny committed by one with no prior criminal record. However, the Guidelines don’t distinguish cases based on the value of the item stolen. So, under the Guidelines, the recommended punishment would be the same if someone stole a $201 ($1000 after July 1, 2020) pair of jeans or a $1,000,000 piece of jewelry. Unsurprisingly, many judges do make a distinction.
Jail, is not the only consideration, though. Any shoplifting lawyer, Fairfax VA will point to collateral consequences of a shoplifting conviction. These include:
- A loss of credibility in court in the future. Shoplifting is classified as “crime of moral turpitude” and can be used to argue that one convicted of this crime is not trustworthy. So, assume a person is convicted of shoplifting and five years later is in an automobile accident where he and the other driver are each claiming the other was at fault. Even though shoplifting had nothing to do with the accident, the person convicted of shoplifting is automatically not as credible as the other driver who has no conviction. In a close case, this could tip the balance.
- A lifelong reputational disability. Even if one never must be in court, one convicted of shoplifting will have the conviction on his record forever. There is no expungement procedure under current Virginia law that would erase a shoplifting conviction from one’s criminal record.
- Immigration Consequences. A conviction could carry adverse immigration actions, such as deportation, exclusion, or citizenship bans now or in the future.
MYTH TWO: If Caught in the Act of Shoplifting there is No Way to Avoid a Conviction.
There are many defenses to larceny and a shoplifting lawyer, Fairfax, VA will explore them with clients. As a factual matter, the prosecutor must prove that one stole property, with the intent to steal it, and that the item had value. Prosecutors sometimes have difficulty proving value. While intent can be inferred by one’s actions, sometimes it requires speculation too far for a judge to permit.
Even if there are no defenses, there are alternatives to a conviction.
- A prosecutor could be persuaded to reduce a felony Grand Larceny charge down to a misdemeanor Petit Larceny charge based on mitigating circumstances.
- A prosecutor could be persuaded to change the charge from a larceny charge to a different misdemeanor that does not involve “moral turpitude,” such as Trespassing.
- Some courts (like Fairfax, VA) have “first offender” programs that can result in a dismissal of the shoplifting charge entirely. (However, discuss with your shoplifting attorney, Fairfax VA the pros and cons of this program. Dismissals through it are not “expungeable” and will be a permanent item on a criminal record).
Shoplifting attorneys, Fairfax VA can be great myth-busters! Choose a good one.
What Is Considered Shoplifting?
In general, shoplifting is considered to be a form of petty theft and includes taking merchandise which is valued less than a certain amount. An alleged shoplifter does not necessarily have to exit the store to be charged with the criminal act. Rather, the defendant could exhibit the slightest movement consistent with the intention to shoplift. An example of this may be hiding the item in another item or placing the item inside a pocket. It should be noted that absentmindedly placing an item over another might not constitute theft. Because this area is relatively broad, it is recommended to have a shoplifting lawyer in Fairfax VA review your case. Even if a shoplifter offers to pay for the item after being apprehended, he or she can still be charged. Examples of shoplifting include:
- Altering or removing price tags;
- Wearing clothing that has not been purchased;
- Placing items in a pocket, bag, or underneath clothing; and
- Placing items in another package or product.
As a shoplifting lawyer in Fairfax Virginia we will examine the evidence against you and let you know what you might expect.
Larceny/Theft – Shoplifting, Grand Larceny, Petit Larceny
“Larceny” is stealing, theft, or shoplifting. It is different from robbery because there is no use of force. To convict, 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.
If the value of the allegedly stolen property was worth $500 or more (Note: on July 1, 2020, the law changes to $1000 or more), or the item was a firearm, the crime is considered grand larceny, which is a felony, carrying a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and no mandatory minimum punishment. Otherwise, the crime is petit larceny, a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Common Beliefs Held by Shoplifters
A shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA families trust frequently receives phone calls from people who have been caught shoplifting but believe they should not be charged because they:
- Offered to pay for the items;
- Did not actually leave the store;
- Bought something while another party did the actual theft;
- Acted only as a lookout;
- Felt the item was overpriced;
- Believed the salesperson was rude, inconsiderate, or discriminatory;
- Thought jail was not a possibility; and
- Did something that did not actually hurt anyone.
All of these factors do not matter and will not hold up in a court of law. Unfortunately, if many offenders had known this, especially the youth, they might not have shoplifted in the first place. As a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA provides, we will do whatever is legally possible to build a defense on your behalf. It will be our objective to:
- Make an arrangement with the establishment to avoid to court process;
- Push for a diversion program which may include counseling or community service;
- Negotiate the charges against you;
- Have the charges reduced or dropped; and
- Prevent a permanent record from being established.
If you are a repeat offender, you may be charged with a felony known as a petty with a prior. These charges could carry the possibility of prison time, large fines, and a felony conviction on your record. In this instance, it is prudent to seek advice from a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA counts on such as Dave Albo.
Reasons to Take a Plea Deal
A shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA tends to consult can tell you how criminal cases can be resolved out of court by both sides coming to an agreement. To save the courts from a long drawn out, time-consuming trial, to reduce the cost to the defendant and to lessen the crime and/or sentence that one is charged with, a defendant may want to enter into a plea bargain.
A plea bargain is where the defense and prosecution make a deal that each side agrees upon. A defendant may plead guilty to a lesser charge and possibly have other charges connected to the crime reduced or even dismissed. It also can involve a guilty plea, with the prosecution recommending lighter sentencing. Most choose the “plea bargain” option because of the following:
- Defendants can avoid the publicity a trial could involve, the risk of harsher punishment, and the time and cost of going to trial.
- The prosecution saves the time and cost of a long trial.
Dave Albo – Attorney is a firm well versed in helping clients understand plea bargains and navigate through the criminal defense process accordingly. When you need the representation of a shoplifting lawyer in Fairfax VA, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our firm. To schedule your initial consultation, call Dave Albo – Attorney at (703) 455-0046.
Accepting a Plea Deal
Your shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA relies on can tell you that there are always risks to consider when going to trial for a criminal charge. One is that you never know what the outcome will be; accepting a plea deal gives the defendant a clear idea of what lies ahead. Charge bargaining is the most common type of plea deal. This is where the prosecution and defense negotiate a lesser charge for the defendant. When a charge bargain is brought before the state, in all likelihood, the state will reduce or even dismiss other charges that have been brought against the defendant. For instance, charges for murder might be reduced to manslaughter, and charges for burglary may be reduced to trespassing.
Aside from taking a plea deal when a lesser crime has taken place, an experienced shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA recommends can give you other alternatives that some opt to use. In some states, there are various diversion programs for the defendant, such as counseling or participating in a rehabilitation program. To qualify, the defendant cannot have any prior offenses. Typical offenses that use the court diversion:
- Non-violent crimes
- Drug charges
- Minor traffic offenses
- Petty theft
There are several reasons that a defendant will choose a plea bargain or court diversion. As mentioned before, the court process can be expensive, lengthy, and possibly become public as well as the uncertainty of the outcome. It is highly recommended that the defendant consult with a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA residents know well when negotiating a plea bargain or entering into a court diversion.
Work With an Experienced Fairfax Shoplifting Lawyer
When you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, you deserve someone who will be committed to your case and to securing the best possible outcome for you. At Dave Albo – Attorney, we put our clients first and are serious about seeking justice for them, and do our utmost to reduce their charges or negotiate for them.
To schedule your consultation with a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA trusts, call Dave Albo – Attorney at (703) 455-0046.
Shoplifting Lawyer Fairfax VA Residents Trust: What to Do If Accused of a Theft Crime
For anyone who is currently undergoing a trial in regards to being accused of a theft crime, consider calling a defense lawyer from Dave Albo – Attorney to represent you in court. We have sought to safeguard the rights of citizens for more than 30 years, and have likely won many theft cases similar to yours. There are two categories of theft, and after consulting with our clients we can determine which case theirs falls under.
Grand Theft = Property or services stolen that are valued over a certain amount of money.
Petty Theft = Stolen objects in which the value is of a lesser scale than grand theft.
By hiring a Fairfax attorney from Dave Albo – Attorney, we can ensure you understand how your case will be defined and treated in the court of law. Depending on what you are being accused of and how much that adds up in value, you could face a misdemeanor or felony charge.
Variables that can determine your verdict include any past history of criminal behavior and the details surrounding what exactly happened. If you are accused of grand theft, there may be other options as an alternative to serving jail time in Fairfax. They are listed as follows:
1. Sealed Arrest Records
2. Serving Community Service Hours
3. Counseling and/or Rehabilitation
4. Compromise (Civil)
5. Programs Specified for First Time Offenders
An attorney at Dave Albo – Attorney can scrutinize all the evidence in regards to what led to your theft accusation. It is possible that personnel who work loss prevention were too aggressive and may have resulted in a misunderstanding between this employee and the accused. What could have been talked out as a simple mistake is now being misconstrued and causing you suffering.
Sometimes stores may utilize significant illegal strategies when arresting people for theft, and if you choose a shoplifting attorney from Dave Albo – Attorney, we can weave through these behaviors to defend you. The experience and knowledge of an attorney can greatly increase your chances of walking away with a charge rescinded.
Having a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA locals turn to from Dave Albo – Attorney alongside you throughout this process can allow us to utilize all aggressive strategies to ensure you walk away with innocence. The last thing we want is for your entire life and what you created to be destroyed because of a theft charge. We understand that not only your life may change, but also the loved ones closest to you. Theft arrests may result in an extensive list of charges. We can work fiercely to prevent any financial fees held against you, jail time punishment, and/or the establishment of a criminal record.
Please contact us today to discuss your situation with one of our shoplifting attorneys at Dave Albo – Attorney. Call a shoplifting lawyer Fairfax VA clients recommend today at (703) 867-8756 for a free consultation. Do not hesitate to reach out, for the longer you wait to have representation, the more likely you will not get the best possible verdict. We hope to speak with you today about the specifics of your theft case.