Virginia Auto Theft Lawyer
Virginia does not have a specific auto theft law, but any larceny of an item is unlawful. Regardless of whether the item is a motor vehicle, money, services, or any other retail merchandise, anything that is stolen can be prosecuted under the larceny laws in Virginia.
Under most circumstances, an auto theft charge is charged as a grand larceny in Virginia, which is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. When a person is charged with grand larceny, they would be well-served to contact an experienced theft attorney to help them defend against the charges or mitigate the possible circumstances and consequences of a conviction. A Virginia auto theft lawyer is well-versed in theft laws, contact one today to see what you can do about your situation.
Auto Theft Laws
Although there is no law specific to auto theft in Virginia, any theft of an automobile alleged by the government is charged under the Virginia larceny laws. There are two classes of larceny laws in Virginia that are based on the value of the item stolen that determine whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. When the automobile is worth more than $500, the charge is a grand larceny. If the automobile is worth less than $500, the charge is petty larceny, which is a misdemeanor.
Possible Consequences of Auto Theft in Virginia
When a person is convicted of auto theft in Virginia, they could receive a prison sentence of one to 20 years. That presumes the motor vehicle that was stolen has a value in excess of $500. Considering that most vehicles are worth more than $500, it is safe to assume that an auto theft is charged as a grand larceny. When the item stolen is worth less than $500, the person is charged with petty larceny, a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to a $25,000 fine making it extremely important that a Virginia auto theft attorney is consulted.
Consequences of a Second-Time Offender
When a person is charged with auto theft twice in Virginia and convicted both times, the penalties for the second offense are higher. Virginia courts run sentencing guidelines prior to the sentencing of any criminal felony. Any previous conviction, especially in theft cases, the Virginia sentencing guidelines determine the sentencing range. When a person has a prior auto theft charge on their record, and they are convicted of a second auto theft charge, the odds are that their punishment is much more serious the second time around.
Hiring an Auto Theft Attorney
Hiring an attorney who is familiar with the court processing for Virginia auto theft is of vital importance. It is extraordinarily advantageous to any client to have an attorney who knows the prosecutors, the judges, and even the clerks in the courthouse where the case is prosecuted because every jurisdiction has its own process. The way a case is prosecuted in Fairfax is different than the way it is prosecuted in Manassas or Stafford. A Virginia auto theft lawyer who is familiar with the local practices in the surrounding jurisdictions is beneficial to a case when it comes to trial.