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Theft crimes in Virginia can be broken down into a variety of subset terms, depending on the circumstances of a suspect’s arrest. Three of the most common “varieties” of the theft crimes, in Virginia and beyond, are burglary, robbery, and larceny. Although these three crimes may seem quite similar at a cursory glance, they are found to be noticeably different upon a better understanding. In order to defend yourself from such charges, it may be necessary to know more about it first.

What is Burglary?

Burglary is a legal oddity in that it is often associated and categorized with theft crimes despite it technically being a property crime. Indeed, no theft or wrongful taking of property needs to happen at all for someone to be charged with burglary, which is always a felony in Virginia law. According to most states’ definitions of burglary, it is the criminal act of breaking into or trespassing on an empty or unoccupied property in order to commit another crime. In Virginia, though, it basically means entering into any structure with the intent to commit a crime. The punishment depends on what type of crime was intended, whether the defendant was armed, and sometimes where or what time of day the burglary occurred.

Why is burglary generally labeled as a theft crime? For the most part, when someone burglarizes property, frequently it is because they assume the location is unoccupied, and they intend to steal property.

What is Robbery?

The theft crime of robbery is usually what most people imagine when thinking of theft. By Virginia’s legal definitions of robbery, it is theft that occurs within the presence of the victim and that relies on violence or intimidation. The punishment for robbery charges can escalate if the suspect uses a deadly weapon or threatens to use one during the course of the robbery. Roberry is a felony in Virginia and is punished harshly, with a sentencing range of five years to life in prison.

What is Larceny?

Larceny is often defined as theft without the victim being immediately present and without violence or intimidation. The most common form of larceny in many jurisdictions is shoplifting. As no one is put into danger during an act of larceny, the charges may be low when compared to robbery or burglary. However, larceny charges can escalate depending on the value of the item stolen, the kind of item stolen, the criminal record of the suspect, and a few other factors.

Do you have questions about theft crime charges in Virginia? Do you need legal representation for a theft crime case of your own? Call (540) 386-0204 to connect with a Fredericksburg criminal defense lawyer from Andrew J. Cornick, Attorney at Law. My legal team is here to answer all of your questions, lessen your concerns, and provide honest, reliable advocacy during this trying time. You can even request a no-cost consultation by contacting my office.