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Grand larceny in Virginia constitutes a felony offense, with the charges contingent upon factors such as the value and nature of the stolen property, as well as the method of theft.

The threshold for grand larceny was modified in 2018, increasing from $200 to $500. Prior to this amendment, taking goods valued at $200 from a store could result in a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Subsequently, in 2020, the law underwent further changes, redefining grand larceny to involve property valued at $1000 or more. The repercussions of a larceny conviction vary based on the property’s value. If you find yourself facing charges for larceny or shoplifting in Virginia, reach out to the Marquis Law Group for a consultation about your case. A grand larceny conviction carries the weight of a felony record, potentially limiting your future opportunities.

virginia grand larceny

Grand Larceny Law in Virginia

According to Virginia Code § 18.2-95, individuals will be charged with grand larceny if they:

  1. Steal money or other items valued at $5 or more directly from someone else,
  2. Commit simple larceny, not from the person, involving goods and chattels valued at $1000 or more, or
  3. Engage in simple larceny, not from the person, involving any firearm, irrespective of its monetary value.

Shoplifting Can be Grand Larceny

Shoplifting is defined in Virginia as the act of “concealing or taking possession of merchandise.” When the value of the goods or merchandise reaches $1000 or more, it is considered grand larceny. For amounts less than $1000, the charge would typically be petit larceny.

Larceny from the Person of Another

Larceny from the person of another, resembling pickpocketing or taking property from someone’s purse or backpack under their immediate control, is subject to a limit of $5. While picking someone’s pocket for a pack of gum or a few dollars may not qualify as grand larceny, taking even an empty wallet would generally be considered grand larceny if the wallet is valued at $5 or more.

Larceny with Intent to Sell

In accordance with Virginia Code §18.2-108.01, individuals committing larceny, where the value of the stolen property is $1000 or more, with the purpose of selling or distributing it, are deemed guilty of a felony. The prescribed punishment for this offense ranges from a minimum of two years to a maximum of 20 years. Importantly, this offense is distinct from grand larceny.

Prima facie evidence of intent to sell can be established by the prosecutor if the theft involves multiple items of the same product. To illustrate, while stealing a single new smartphone may constitute grand larceny or petit larceny, the act of shoplifting two identical smartphones could be categorized as larceny with the intent to sell, potentially leading to an active jail sentence.

Larceny of Checks

Theft of bank notes, checks, or account books falls under the umbrella of larceny and is subject to penalties based on the represented value of the paper. Prosecution for the larceny of such items is conducted under Virginia Code § 18.2-98, where the assessed value is the pertinent factor. If convicted of larceny involving bank notes, checks, etc., under Virginia Code § 18.2-98, the prescribed punishment aligns with that of larceny involving physical goods.

Penalties for Grand Larceny in Virginia

Grand larceny may result in either felony or misdemeanor charges. If classified as a felony, the punishment for grand larceny includes incarceration in a state correctional facility for a period ranging from 1 to 20 years. Alternatively, at the discretion of the court or jury, the offense may be penalized with a maximum imprisonment period of 12 months and a potential fine of up to $2,500.

Defenses for Grand Larceny in Virginia

Consult with your Virginia criminal defense attorney to explore effective defenses for your case. Your legal representative will analyze the case’s facts and evidence to identify the most suitable defense strategies. Possible defenses for grand larceny may involve:

  1. Mistaken identity,
  2. The defendant being the rightful owner of the property,
  3. The defendant having the intention to pay for the merchandise, or
  4. Allegations that the police conducted an illegal search and seizure.

Experienced Virginia Attorney for Larceny Defense

While stealing a few items might not immediately suggest felony charges, engaging in theft of a firearm, pickpocketing, or taking items valued at $1000 or more can be classified as grand larceny. If you or someone you care about has been arrested for theft or shoplifting, it is crucial to consult with a criminal defense attorney. Discuss strategies to combat criminal theft charges and prevent a felony conviction. Reach out today for a complimentary consultation.


Marquis Law Group combines our deep knowledge of the law with a passion for helping our neighbors.

Need Guidance?

While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call 703-777-6161 or complete our intake form.


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