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Yes. In Virginia, a shoplifting charge, even for a first offense, constitutes a criminal misdemeanor if the value of the items is under $500. However, if the value exceeds $500, it escalates to a felony, regardless of being a first offense.

first time shoplifting charges in virginiaGiven that misdemeanor shoplifting is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, it carries potential penalties of up to 12 months in jail and fines reaching $2,500. Additionally, a shoplifting conviction leaves a lasting mark on your record, impacting various aspects of your life indefinitely. Such a record could lead to repercussions such as job loss, security clearance revocation, employment challenges, housing difficulties, or, for non-U.S. citizens, deportation or ineligibility for immigration benefits.

Certain counties in Northern Virginia offer a first-offender program specifically tailored to misdemeanor shoplifting cases. Participation in this program entails an admission of guilt upfront, followed by the court deferring its official finding of guilt while placing you on probation. During probation, you’ll need to complete a shoplifting education course, fulfill a set number of community service hours, and maintain good behavior overall. If you successfully comply with these requirements and avoid further legal infractions, the charge will be dismissed at the end of the probationary period. However, according to current Virginia law, it’s crucial to understand that a dismissed charge through this deferral mechanism cannot be expunged from your criminal record. Additionally, it’s worth noting that not all jurisdictions offer first-offender shoplifting programs.

When confronted with a shoplifting charge, it’s crucial to seek the assistance of a Leesburg criminal defense attorney from the Marquis Law Group to navigate the proceedings and pursue the best possible outcome.




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