Property Crimes


There are two types of larceny charges in Virginia, grand larceny and petit larceny. 

Grand larceny is the more serious of the two crimes in which one steals something worth $5 or more directly from another person (e.g. pick-pocketing a cellphone), or steals a gun or something worth more than $1,000 that is not on another person when stolen (e.g. stealing something that was unattended). Larceny can be tried as a felony and can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in jail. These felony cases are usually prosecuted even for first time offenders. You’ll want an experienced lawyer to help convince the jury or judge that the price of the item stolen was unknown or ambiguous to help lessen your sentence in these cases. Other defenses and options can be explored with you as well to help retain your liberty.

Petit larceny is a misdemeanor crime resulting in the theft of something worth less than $5 directly from another person or theft of an unattended item worth less than $1,000. First offenders may see these cases dismissed from time to time; however, if the case is tried you could be put in jail for up to 12 months, have a fine of up to $2,500 and conviction also carries with it an entry on your criminal record and court costs.


Burglary in Virginia is defined as a person breaking into a house in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony or larceny. This charge can carry a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment and up to $100,000 fine. If the burglary was committed with a weapon the imprisonment term is 20 years to life. If you have been charged with burglary of any kind you should hire a lawyer immediately. If you decide to go to trial, an experienced attorney can cast doubt on the intent to commit a felony, try to show that your intent was actually to commit a misdemeanor (this can greatly lower your sentence), and use other strategies specific to the facts of your case to help lessen the punishment you may be facing. A lawyer will also be honest and advise you if you consider taking a plea. A felony charge like burglary can have a long term impact on your life including access to student loans and the right to vote. A lawyer will help guide you through the process and work tirelessly to protect your liberty.


See Also:

  • Code of Virginia § 18.2-95
  • Code of Virginia § 18.2-96
  • Code of Virginia § 18.2-89
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