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Reviewing the Code of Virginia § 18.2-103

In the state of Virginia, shoplifting is considered a form of larceny, which is the unlawful taking and carrying away of someone else's property with the intent to deprive the owner of its use permanently. Shoplifting specifically refers to the act of intentionally concealing or taking possession of merchandise from a retail establishment without paying for it.

This can also include:

  • Altering price tags
  • Transferring goods from one container to another
  • Causing the cash register to under-ring an item
  • Assisting someone else in shoplifting

The severity of the crime is determined by the value of the goods involved. When the value is less than $1,000, the offender is charged with petit larceny. If the value is $1,000 or more, the offender is guilty of grand larceny.

It is also important to note that willingly hiding merchandise while still inside the store is considered enough evidence to prove intent to defraud the store owner.

Defending Against Shoplifting Charges

Facing shoplifting charges can be a daunting experience, especially considering the potential consequences of a conviction. However, with dedicated legal representation, you can more confidently fight your charges. When looking for an attorney, we strongly encourage you to look for one who understands the nuances of the Virginia larceny law, like Attorney Andrew J. Cornick.

Remember, even if you know yourself to be innocent, having a lawyer is crucial. Innocence does not necessarily guarantee a judgment in your favor; never assume your innocence is self-evident. An attorney can help you more effectively communicate your side of the story. They can also use their skill and experience to dissect the prosecution's evidence and present counter-evidence.

Moreover, depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may be able to negotiate for reduced charges or even a dismissal.

What To Do If You Are Arrested for Shoplifting

If you were arrested for shoplifting, it's vital to remember your rights. In particular, remember you have a right to remain silent. You are not required to provide any information to store personnel. You should identify yourself to police without further comment about the accusations. This is crucial to reduce the risk of inadvertently providing the police or prosecution with information that may be used against you. You are under no obligation to answer any questions or provide any statements without legal representation present.

Instead, politely inform the officers that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent until you have spoken to an attorney. This safeguard is protected under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and is a vital component of your defense.

Relatedly, avoid the temptation to explain your side of the story until you have received legal advice. While it may seem beneficial to clarify the situation, without an understanding of the legal repercussions, it could inadvertently damage your defense.

What to Bring to Your Consultation

Reach out to an attorney as soon as possible following your arrest. The sooner you enlist legal help, the sooner you can start building a robust defense. The immediate involvement of a skilled attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case, from the evidence that is gathered to how the facts are presented.

We recommend you bring the following information to your consultation:

  • Any paperwork or documentation related to your case, such as arrest records, bail papers, or notices from court.
  • A written account of the incident in your own words, including as many details as possible.
  • Names and contact information of any witnesses to the event.
  • Any videos or pictures that may be relevant to the case.
  • A list of questions or concerns you have about your situation or legal process.

Andrew J. Cornick, Attorney at Law, is well-versed in Virginia's shoplifting laws and prepared to fight tirelessly on your behalf.