Fairfax shoplifting defense lawyers at the Sprano Law Firm in Northern Virginia serving clients accused of grand and petty larceny. Experienced criminal defense attorneys help achieve the best possible options for their clients.
Any type of criminal charge should be taken seriously, even if it is a first offense for shoplifting. A conviction on this charge may remain on your criminal record and leave you facing jail time, monetary fines and a range of other consequences. Take action now to protect yourself against shoplifting charges by hiring an experienced shoplifting defense lawyer.
At the Sprano Law Firm in Fairfax, our criminal defense attorneys know how to fight shoplifting charges in all of the Northern Virginia courts - including Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun County, Arlington, and Alexandria. Our attorneys also defend people charged with shoplifting in federal court. With more than 30 years of combined experience as Northern Virginia shoplifting defense lawyers, we know how to spot opportunities in these kinds of cases and make the most of them. We know how to create options and make them work for you. You can see some examples of our recent work on shoplifting and other types of cases by reviewing our case results page.
Contact our Fairfax shoplifting defense lawyers to learn more about how to get representation if you are accused of a shoplifting crime.
Defense Against Shoplifting Charges in Fairfax and Northern Virginia
Shoplifting can either be a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor shoplifting (called "petit larceny"), means that the value of the property that was allegedly stolen is less than $200. A felony shoplifting charge (called "grand larceny") is the theft of property valued at $200 or more. This is an extremely low threshold for a shoplifting case to be charged as a felony, but unfortunately that is the law of Virgina. (To learn more about the possible consequences of a felony shoplifting charge in Fairfax or Northern Virginia, click here for more a detailed discussion of felony shoplifting options.)
Whether you have been charged with misdemeanor shoplifting or are facing a felony shoplifting charge, our experienced Northern Virginia criminal defense attorneys can help. We will work to see that all aspects of the case are investigated and argued aggressively when needed. When a dismissal of the shoplfiting chages is possible that is always our lawyers' primary objective. When it is not possible to get the shoplifting charge dropped or dismissed, our attorneys will shift their focus to find every way possible to minimize the consequences for you.
Most people find themselves accused of shoplfiting when they are caught leaving the store with unpaid merchandise by a store detective. An experienced shoplifting defense lawyer will know how to explore the possible defenses in these cases. Sometimes people simply make a mistake and forget to pay. Absent-mindedness is not a crime.
A less common situation giving rise to shoplifting charges in Fairfax County or other Northern Virginia Courts is when a person is detained before even leaving a store. Sometimes this is because the loss prevention officer believes they have passed the last possible place to pay (cash registers) and therefore the intent to steal can be inferred from the circumstances. In other cases the defendant may be detained and charged with suspected "unlawful concealment of merchandise." Our shoplifting defense lawyers can aggressively defend against either of these situations and many others that may have resulted in a shoplifting charge.
When you call the Sprano Law Firm, you will be contacting some of the best shoplifting defense lawyers in Fairfax or anywhere in Northern Virginia. No matter what your situation, our attorneys will strive to achieve the best possible outcome in your case, the outcome that will have the least impact on your life.
In many cases the unfortunate reality is that there are no good legal or factual defenses to the shoplifting charge. An important attribute shared by the best criminal defense lawyers is the ability to make sound stategic decisions based on the evidence and unique circumstances of each case. When winning at trial is not a realistic option, an "aggressive defense" is usually not the best strategy. Instead, our lawyers will seek to humanize you to the prosecutor and judge - presenting your background and circumstances in a sympathetic and mitigating light, in order to convince them to reduce the charge or at the very least exact a minimum of punishment.
No two cases are 100% alike, but our lawyers' fundamental approach never wavers. We seek to obtain the very best result realistically possible for each and every client who passes through our office.
To discuss your shoplifting charge with one of our trusted attorneys, call us at 703-763-0979 or 866-936-5614, or contact us online. Our office is located near the Fairfax County courthouse. We are open Monday through Friday, and lawyers are available by phone and email seven days a week.
Our Virginia Shoplifting defense lawyers defend people accused of shoplifting under any of the following criminal statutes:
Grand Larceny, Virginia Code Section 18.2-95 :
Any person who (i) commits larceny from the person of another of money or other thing of value of $5 or more, (ii) commits simple larceny not from the person of another of goods and chattels of the value of $200 or more, or (iii) commits simple larceny not from the person of another of any firearm, regardless of the firearm's value, shall be guilty of grand larceny, punishable by imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than twenty years or, in the discretion of the jury or court trying the case without a jury, be confined in jail for a period not exceeding twelve months or fined not more than $2,500, either or both.
Petit Larceny, Virginia Code Section 18.2-96:
Any person who:
1. Commits larceny from the person of another of money or other thing of value of less than $5, or
2. Commits simple larceny not from the person of another of goods and chattels of the value of less than $200, except as provided in subdivision (iii) of § 18.2-95, shall be deemed guilty of petit larceny, which shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.[Note: Class 1 Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500].
2nd, 3rd or Subsequent Charges of Shoplifting or Other Larcenies can result in more severe consequences, pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-104:
When a person is convicted of an offense of larceny or any offense deemed to be or punished as larceny under any provision of the Code, and it is alleged in the warrant, indictment or information on which he is convicted, and admitted, or found by the jury or judge before whom he is tried, that he has been before convicted in the Commonwealth of Virginia or in another jurisdiction for any offense of larceny or any offense deemed or punishable as larceny, or of any substantially similar offense in any other jurisdiction, regardless of whether the prior convictions were misdemeanors, felonies or a combination thereof, he shall be confined in jail not less than thirty days nor more than twelve months; and for a third, or any subsequent offense, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony
Concealment of Merchandise, Virginia Code Section 18.2-103:
Concealing or taking possession of merchandise; altering price tags; transferring goods from one container to another; counseling, etc., another in performance of such acts.
Whoever, without authority, with the intention of converting goods or merchandise to his own or another's use without having paid the full purchase price thereof, or of defrauding the owner of the value of the goods or merchandise, (i) willfully conceals or takes possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, or (ii) alters the price tag or other price marking on such goods or merchandise, or transfers the goods from one container to another, or (iii) counsels, assists, aids or abets another in the performance of any of the above acts, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is less than $200, shall be guilty of petit larceny and, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is $200 or more, shall be guilty of grand larceny. 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.
If you are wondering what gave the store detective or loss prevention officer the right to arrest or detain you for shoplifting, even though they are not police officers, that authority comes from Virginia Code Section 18.2-105.1:
A merchant, agent or employee of the merchant, who has probable cause to believe that a person has shoplifted in violation of § 18.2-95 or § 18.2-96 or § 18.2-103, on the premises of the merchant, may detain such person for a period not to exceed one hour pending arrival of a law-enforcement officer.
If the police think you used any type of tool or device to aid in the shoplifting charge, you may also find your self facing another Felony charge of Possession of Burglarious Tools, under Virginia Code Section 18.2-94:
If any person have in his possession any tools, implements or outfit, with intent to commit burglary, robbery or larceny, upon conviction thereof he shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony. The possession of such burglarious tools, implements or outfit by any person other than a licensed dealer, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to commit burglary, robbery or larceny.
If you are charged with any of these types of shoplifting charges in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Prince William or Loudoun County, the experienced Virginia shoplifting defense lawyers at the Sprano Law Firm can help. Contact us today for a free consultation: (703) 763-0979.