Possible Outcomes in Virginia Shoplifting Cases
Experienced shoplifting defense attorneys at the Sprano Law Firm can help explain what options may be available in your case. Call today for a free consultation.
Shoplifting Charges in Virginia
A person charged with a 1st offense shoplifting case in Fairfax or Northern Virginia will usually have several options for how their case will be handled. If the value of the stolen item was greater than $1000, the charge will be brought as a felony grand larceny in violation of Virginia Code 18.2-95. [Note that this felony threshold was changed to $1000 effective July 1, 2020]. If you or a loved one has been charged with Felony Shoplifting in Fairfax or any of the Northern Virginia courts, do not despair. There is hope of avoiding the most severe consequences of this mistake, but it is imperative that you find the best shoplifting defense lawyer you can.
One possible defense strategy that our attorneys will pursue whenever possible is to challenge the government’s case on the merits, arguing that the defendant is not guilty of shoplifting or that the prosecution cannot prove that fair market value of the item was actually more than $1-00, so the charge should be reduced to a misdemeanor petit larceny (18.2-96) instead. Even without good factual defenses, we are often able to strike a plea bargain in which the charge would be reduced a misdemeanor shoplifting with little or no active jail time.
Sometimes however, difficult choices must be made. There are cases in which the only way a prosecutor will agree to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor is if the defendant agrees to serve some time in jail in exchange for that reduction. In Fairfax this usually becomes more likely when the total value of the stolen property is over $1500, but in jurisdictions like Prince William (Manassas) or Arlington Counties, it is rare that a felony shoplifting will ever be reduced to a misdemeanor without any jail time. One of the most important considerations in choosing the best criminal defense lawyer for your shoplifting case is making sure you find an attorney who knows the differences between how these cases are handled in each jurisdiction, in order to best prepare you for the most realistic possible outcomes in your case. At the Sprano Law Firm, you will not find lawyers who will tell you whatever you want to hear just to take your money. We believe in honest and diligent representation all the way through the case, and that begins with our free initial consultation.
Since judges typically do not impose an active jail or prison sentences for first offense felony shoplifting cases in Fairfax County or elsewhere in Northern Virginia, the defendant is sometimes left with this very difficult decision: (1) take a felony conviction with (most likely) no jail time; or (2) get the benefit of a misdemeanor but with some time in jail imposed. A misdemeanor shoplifting charge still has consequences on a criminal record, but they are not nearly as significant or long-lasting as the consequences of a felony shoplifting charge. This is a potentially life-altering decision for many people, and at a moment like that you will want to be sure you have the assistance of an lawyer you can trust to guide you toward the choice that is best for you.
A good shoplifting defense lawyer will first work to provide you with a choice between the best possible alternatives. At the Sprano Law Firm, the majority of our felony shoplifting cases have resulted in a reduction to a misdemeanor with little or no active jail time. You will find several examples of that outcome listed on among our recent case results. When this is not possible, our lawyers will work to keep the jail time to a minimum and argue for alternative sentences like weekends in jail, work release, or house arrest if deemed appropriate. Most importantly, you can trust us to give you sound advice and counsel when making what may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever face, and you can trust that every possibility of a successful defense to the charge has been fully explored before you enter into any kind of plea agreement.
If you have been charged with a Shoplifting offense, contact one of our shoplifting defense lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss your options. We are conveniently located near the Fairfax County Courthouse. Our office is open for appointments 8:30-5:30, Monday – Friday, and we are available by phone (703-763-0979) and email after hours and on weekends.
The Sprano Law Firm, LLP
Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyers
10603 Judicial Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
Toll Free: 866-936-5614
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