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What is Grand Larceny?

Grand larceny is the more serious of the two types of larceny. Grand larceny is a felony in Virginia. Grand larceny is defined in Virginia law under VA. Code 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.” 

So basically there are three ways to be convicted of grand larceny:

  • Stealing an item from the person of another that is worth $5 or more.

  • Stealing an item worth $200 or more. OR

  • Stealing a firearm regardless of its value.

Stealing from “the person of another” means taking something that is in the possession or control of another. For example, if I grab a $10 bill out of your hand, I am committing grand larceny because the money is more than $5 and it was in your possession. If I grab the same $10 bill from off the table while it is a few inches in front of you, I am also committing grand larceny because the money was in your custody and worth more than $5.

However, if I took $10 from off the table while you stepped out of the room that would be petite larceny, not grand larceny. When the owner of the $10 bill steps out of the room, the $10 bill left on the table is no longer in their possession or custody.

Most forms of Grand larceny involve stealing something worth $200 or more. The law requires that the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt the value of the item stolen otherwise the crime is only petite larceny.

The value of stolen property means the market value or retail value at the time of the offense. So if the item is used, it is the value of the item if it was sold used not the value at the time it was originally purchased. And no, you can’t use coupons or special sales to discount the value below $200.

Often, it can be difficult for the prosecution to prove that the stolen property was worth $200 or more. The prosecution must bring a witness to court who can testify to the market value of the property.

In order for a witness to testify regarding the value of an item, the witness must either have firsthand knowledge of the items retail value or they must have some expert knowledge on the subject.

What are the Penalties for Grand Larceny?

Grand larceny is a felony and conviction stays on your permanent criminal record forever. Adults cannot have a criminal conviction expunged from their record in Virginia.

If you are convicted of a felony, you lose certain civil rights. Felons cannot vote and cannot own guns in Virginia. Conviction can also affect your ability to get certain jobs, go to graduate school, get security clearance, join the military and may result in deportation.

If you are convicted of grand larceny the judge or jury can sentence you to up to 20 years in prison and fine you up to $2,500. You can also be order to pay restitution to the victim.

However, just because the judge can put you in jail does not mean that the judge will put you in jail. To find out what the likely outcome of your grand larceny case may be call Nichols & Green PLLC (703) 383-9222 for a free consultation. Our lawyers handle hundred of criminal cases in Northern Virginia and we will be happy to talk to you about the likely out come of your case. Our attorney will also discuss what defenses you may have and what you can do to prepare for your trial.

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