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Grand larceny threshold doubled in 2020

You were with a friend in a department store when they laughed and told you that they were going to walk out of the store with a new bag. The theft itself bothered you, but you were concerned most because of the value of the piece. Listed at around $550, the accessory was clearly valuable and could lead to significant trouble if they were caught.

You tried to avoid making a scene to help them get out without trouble, but a security tag inside the handbag set off the alarms. It wasn't long before store security stopped your friend and you ended up facing trouble as well. Now, you could be facing larceny charges, which is something you never would have faced if you were shopping on your own.

Grand larceny is a serious charge to face in Virginia, but you could face it if you steal from another person and cost them $10 or more in losses. If you don't steal from a person but instead from a shop, that value jumps to $1,000. Stealing a firearm immediately brings a grand larceny charge.

What are the penalties for a grand larceny charge?

The penalties start with the risk of imprisonment or heavy fines. The fines or length of time you could spend in prison will depend on several factors including how much the item stolen or the money taken was worth and if violence or other issues affect the case.

Grand larceny is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, depending on the case, but there is a great deal of leeway. That's why it's important that you have a strong defense.

In March 2020, the felony threshold was doubled. It used to be that $5 in losses or $500 in theft from a store would be enough to land you with this charge, but the state determined that the penalties did not fit the crimes. Governor Ralph Northam signed this into law with House Bill 995 on March 4.

Why were changes made to the grand larceny law?

The governor explained that the change brings Virginia in line with what most states agree is a grand larceny offense. The good news is that this change could help more people who would have faced felony charges face misdemeanor charges instead. It's worth pointing out that 35 states, including Washington, D.C., do have felony thresholds that are at least $1,000.

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