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Virginia Theft, Shoplifting, Larceny Crimes

Virginia Theft, Larceny, Shoplifting

In Virginia both theft and shoplifting fall under VA larceny law. There are two main kinds of larceny in Virginia, Petit Larceny, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, and Grand Larceny, an Unclassified Felony punishable by up to 20 years in jail. Both offenses are almost identical, the only difference between the misdemeanor and felony being the value of the item(s) taken.

Grand Larceny (VA Code Section 18.2-95)

Taking the property of another;

With the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the item and/or the value of it; AND

The value of the item taken is (1) more than $500, or (2) more than $5 if the item was physically taken from another person.


Petit Larceny (VA Code Section 18.2-96)

Taking the property of another;

With the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the item and/or the value of it; AND

The value of the property taken is (1) less than $500, or (2) less than $5 if taken from a person.


Possible Punishments for Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny:





Grand Larceny

> $500

Unclassified Felony

20 Years


Petit Larceny

< $500

Class 1 Misdemeanor

12 Months



Shoplifting - Concealment (VA Code Section 18.2-103)

In Virginia shoplifting is often charged as concealment, which is a form of larceny. Concealment is basically a different way of proving Petit Larceny or Grand Larceny, and if convicted one is punished exactly the same as if they had been convicted of petit larceny or grand larceny.

(1) Intentionally taking merchandise in a store and hiding/concealing it from view (normally by placing in a bag or stroller).

(2) Altering the price of an item (often by switching the price tag with that of a less expensive item).

(3) Intentionally moving items from one container to another container.


First Offender

There is technically no first offender program for larceny offenses under Virginia Law. Some local jurisdictions, such as Fairfax County have a jurisdiction specific first offender program for petit larceny but not grand larceny. Prince William County has a policy of asking for active jail time on Grand Larceny charges and often for petit larceny as well (Prince William also does not allow jail time to be served on weekends). Every jurisdiction has its own policies on how they handle petit larceny and it is important to speak to an attorney who has experience handling these offenses throughout Northern Virginia. Call today to schedule a free consultation.


The Different Virginia Courts

Court Process in Virginia

VA Felony vs. Misdemeanor Charges

Criminal Court Process in Virginia

Arraignments in Virginia

Alexandria Criminal Defense

Areas We Serve

Virginia, and Washington, DC.