A Virginia court seal, usually seen in a criminal defense case in Newport News and Hampton.


Larceny & Shoplifting


  • Larceny in Virginia is derived from common law.
    • Larceny is “the wrongful taking of the goods of another without the owner’s consent with the intention to deprive the owner thereof.” Bright v. Commonwealth, 4 Va. App. 248 (1987).
    • In Virginia, if the value of goods stolen is $500 or more, the crime is felony grand larceny.  If the value of the goods is less than $500, the crime is misdemeanor petit larceny.
    • Grand larceny in Virginia is punishable by up to twenty years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.  Petit larceny is punishable by up to twelve months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
    • It is also important to note that petit larceny may include higher punishments for subsequent convictions.  For instance, a third or subsequent conviction for petit larceny may be punished as a felony.


  • “Shoplifting” is most frequently charged as the crime of concealment in Virginia.
    • To convict someone of concealment, the Commonwealth must prove “a willful concealment of merchandise done with the intent to convert the merchandise or to defraud the shopkeeper.” Johnson v. Commonwealth, 35 Va. App. 134 (2001).
    • The concealment statute criminalizes the act of concealing merchandise in a store, even before an individual has exited the premises.
    • If the concealed merchandise is worth less than $500, the crime is punished as petit larceny.  If the merchandise is worth more than $500, the crime is punishable as grand larceny.

Representation by criminal defense attorney is always recommended.


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