Fairfax theft lawyers

If you’re facing charges for larceny, shoplifting, burglary, or another type of theft, you need to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who specializes in theft defense.

At Select Law Partners PLLC, we uphold the belief that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and that every person who’s charged with a crime deserves the chance to defend themselves. Our Fairax criminal defense lawyers understand how to interpret the law and craft persuasive arguments in your favor.

Whether you’re dealing with a misdemeanor or felony charge, our team is deeply familiar with the criminal justice system and is here to help you navigate the complexities of your case. Call (855) 541-4867 or contact us online to learn more and to schedule a consultation.

fairfax theft attorney

Elements of theft

In Virginia, there are several larceny or theft-related offenses that differ based on what was stolen, the value of the property that was stolen, and if violence or threats of violence were used. Regardless of the specific charge, a theft-related offense includes this general definition:

The intentional and non-consensual taking of someone else’s personal property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

Our theft lawyers in Fairfax are well-versed in the nuances of the various theft laws and can provide valuable insight into how to approach your case. By evaluating the circumstances of your case, we can help you create a defense strategy that brings the best possible outcome, regardless of the specific charges you’re facing.

Types of theft crimes

There are several different types of theft-related charges, including theft itself, selling stolen property, and conspiracy to commit the crime. Here’s a closer look at some of the more common theft charges.


Larceny is a general term for theft that involves taking someone else’s property without their permission. Theft crimes that don’t fall under a specific category are often charged as larceny.

Petit larceny

Petit (or petty) larceny occurs when an item valued at less than $5 is taken directly from the person or if the goods or chattels taken were valued at less than $1,000 and weren’t taken directly from a person.

Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor and carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Restitution can be requested by an alleged victim for the value of the property taken if it is not returned.

Grand larceny

Grand larceny is committed when the item taken directly from a person is worth $5 or more, if the goods or chattels taken were of a value greater than $1,000, or if larceny of a firearm is committed.

Grand larceny is a felony that can result in up to 20 years in prison and a $2,500 fine. Restitution can be requested by an alleged victim for the value of any property taken if it is not returned.


Robbery is the taking of something from another person through force or threat of force. The potential penalties for a robbery charge vary based on the bodily injury that was caused and if a firearm or deadly weapon was used.

Any person who commits robbery by using threat or intimidation or any other means not involving a deadly weapon is guilty of a Class 6 felony and can get up to 5 years in prison.

Any person who commits robbery by using physical force not resulting in serious bodily injury or by using or displaying a deadly weapon other than a firearm in a threatening manner is guilty of a Class 5 felony and can get up to 10 years in prison.

Any person who commits robbery by using or displaying a firearm, in a threatening manner is guilty of a Class 3 felony and could be looking at 5 to 20 years in prison.

Any person who commits robbery and causes serious bodily injury to or the death of any other person is guilty of a Class 2 felony and could be looking at 20 years to life in prison.


Burglary is the breaking and entering of a property with the intent to commit theft, murder, rape, robbery, or arson. There are many nuances to this charge that are depicted by the time of day the entering of the property occurred and whether the act of “breaking” is required. These subtleties are one of the reasons you need an attorney who’s highly knowledgeable in Virginia criminal defense.

Burglary in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony or larceny is a Class 3 felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If a deadly weapon is used in a burglary then it is listed as a Class 2 felony which can result in up to life in prison.

Stolen property

In addition to direct theft, Virginia also has laws that address the possession of stolen property. If you’ve knowingly purchased, acquired, or concealed stolen property from another person, you could be charged with a theft offense. The penalties for possessing stolen are the same as petit and grand larceny depending on the value of the property.

fairfax theft lawyer


Shoplifting involves stealing items from a store. Individuals who are stopped within a store may still be charged with shoplifting if they are carrying items that haven’t been paid for and they have passed all points of sale. Behaviors like willfully concealing goods, altering price tags, or helping someone else to steal items from a store can all result in charges such as petit or grand larceny.


Embezzlement is a unique type of theft crime in which an individual wrongly uses, disposes of, or conceals any money or property that has been entrusted to them or that they’ve received on someone else’s behalf such as receiving a check intended for their employer.

This type of theft is often seen in a professional setting and involves someone taking money from their employer or another trusted individual.

Examples of embezzlement include:

  • A cashier taking money out of the register or using the register to credit their account
  • An upper-level employee using a company credit card for personal purchases and creating false receipts
  • A bookkeeper falsifying records to hide the money they’ve taken from an employer or client
  • Overbilling customers and keeping the extra money

Like other forms of theft, the penalties for embezzlement depend on the value of the stolen items or money or from whom the goods or funds were embezzled. The penalties are the same as petit and grand larceny depending on the value of the property stolen.

Bad checks

Issuing a bad check can be considered a form of theft because the check was written with the intent to defraud a company or individual. To be convicted of this crime, it must be proven that at the time the check was written, the individual knew that there weren’t sufficient funds in their account to cover the check. As with other charges, the exact penalties depend on the amount of money involved.

Theft charges and penalties

Theft offenses can range from misdemeanors to felonies, with each type carrying a different set of penalties. The type of charge a person will face depends on the value of the stolen property and other factors such as the defendant’s criminal history.


Petit larceny is often charged as a misdemeanor, as are several theft-related offenses such as writing a bad check, shoplifting, or possessing stolen property where the value of the stolen items is less than $1,000.

It’s a common misconception that misdemeanor charges don’t carry significant penalties. A misdemeanor conviction of a theft offense can lead to significant fines, mandatory restitution payments (reimbursement to the victim for the stolen goods), and a jail sentence. Additionally, theft convictions carry collateral consequences that can have a severe impact on your future. Many possible employers conduct background checks and a conviction for a theft crime can result in some employers dismissing your candidacy for their position.


Several offenses, including grand larceny, burglary, robbery, the theft of a firearm, and other thefts exceeding $1,000, are typically charged as a felony, even if it’s a first offense.

Felony convictions can result in much harsher sentences than those of a misdemeanor with steeper fines, longer prison sentences, and large court-ordered restitution payments. If the theft crime involves allegations of threats or violence, then the sentence can be quite severe.

To best protect yourself, contact the Fairfax criminal defense attorneys at Select Law Partners PLLC as soon as you’ve been arrested or if charges have been filed against you.

Jail and prison sentences

The length of a jail or prison sentence for a theft offense depends on the details of each case. Misdemeanor convictions can result in jail sentences of up to 12 months. Felony convictions can carry much longer prison sentences with a minimum usually starting at one year, going up to 20 years or even life in prison in cases involving serious bodily injury, death, or other circumstances.

With the help of a Select Law Partners PLLC criminal defense attorney, you might be able to negotiate a lesser sentence or an alternative punishment or fight the charges if they are unfounded.

Understanding your constitutional rights

Facing a theft charge can be intimidating, but it’s important to remember that you have rights under both the US Constitution and Virginia state law, all of which must be respected and upheld throughout the criminal justice process. Your rights include the following.

The right to protect yourself against self-incrimination by remaining silent

Anything you say to the police or other investigators can and will be used against you in court. You aren’t required to answer questions or make any statements about the alleged crime. When in doubt, tell an officer that you won’t answer any questions without an attorney.

The right to legal counsel

If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can ask that one be appointed to represent you.

Unreasonable searches and seizures

This means that police officers must have probable cause or a valid search or arrest warrant to search your property or vehicle. If they didn’t have probable cause or a warrant, your attorney might be able to exclude any evidence that was obtained during the unlawful search.

The right to a fair trial and due process of law

You’re innocent until proven guilty and the prosecution must prove all elements of the crime for which you’re charged beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction from the judge or a jury.

Why you should hire a lawyer for your case

Although there are laws to protect defendants during a criminal investigation proceeding and there are other rules and statutes regarding proper procedures that the police and prosecutors must follow, prosecutorial misconduct is not uncommon. The police and prosecution find ways to trick or confuse a self-represented or under-represented litigant. A lawyer can help you understand the charges that are being brought against you, protect your rights, negotiate with the prosecution for reduced charges or lesser penalties, and craft a strong defense and legal strategy.

While the court can appoint a lawyer for you, you don’t get to choose your court-appointed lawyer. Your liberty and your rights deserve more than a roll of the dice. Hiring a criminal defense attorney might cost more in the short term, but the benefits quickly outweigh that cost, especially if it leads to a more favorable outcome or an acquittal in court. When it comes to preserving your future and freedom, the cost of dedicated representation from an experienced professional is well worth it.

Facing theft charges? Contact our experienced Fairfax criminal defense lawyers today to help you with your case.

The attorneys at Select Law Partners PLLC can scrutinize every aspect of your case to determine if evidence was legally obtained and if other corroborating evidence supports the charges being brought against you. We can build a strong defense and point out the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case to get your charges reduced or dropped before trial—avoiding trial saves you time and money.

Of course, if your case goes to trial, we’ll apply that same scrutiny to the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses and present the best defense possible to increase your chances of a just and fair verdict.

Schedule your consultation with one of our Fairfax criminal defense attorneys by calling (855) 541-4867 today.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Click here for full disclaimer or view our Privacy Policy

Main Offices:

910 Littlepage Street
Suite A
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Hours: M-Th 9a-5p, Fr 9a-1p

4085 Chain Bridge Road
Suite 300
Fairfax, VA 22030
Hours: M-Th 9a-5p, Fr 9a-1p

© Select Law Partners, PLLC. All rights reserved.