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How Different Are Petty Larceny and Grand Larceny?

In Virginia, all theft and theft-related crimes are referred to as larcenies. Criminal statutes further define particular types of theft. This includes larceny of bank notes, and checks, theft or destruction of public records, and embezzlement. Two common types of theft crimes are petit larceny and grand larceny.

Differences Between Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny

In Virginia, larceny charges are classified based on the value of the stolen property and in some cases, what was stolen. Petit larceny, also known as petty larceny, is the lowest offense and is defined as:

  • The theft of property or services that are valued at less than $200.
  • The theft of property valued under $5 if it was taken directly from a person.

Grand larceny occurs under the following situations:

  • The property or services stolen are valued at more than $200.
  • Property valued at $5 or more is stolen and was taken directly from a person.
  • The property stolen is a firearm of any value.

Penalties for Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny

Petit larceny is considered a class 1 misdemeanor. A person convicted of this crime could face the following punishments:

  • Imprisonment for up to 12 months.
  • Fines of up to $2,500.

Grand larceny is a much more serious crime and is usually classified as a felony. A person could face the following punishments:

  • A Pair of Handcuffs Sitting on Top of a Stack of MoneyIf the grand larceny is considered a felony, a sentence of from 1 to 20 years in prison.
  • Judges and juries can treat the grand larceny as a misdemeanor for punishment purposes, for example, if the person had no criminal record or the value of the property was only slightly over $200.
  • If the grand larceny is considered a misdemeanor, a person could face the same punishments as those for petit larceny.

Prior convictions for a misdemeanor or felony larceny can affect a person’s subsequent sentence. In this situation, the person convicted of petit or grand larceny would receive a prison sentence of at least 30 days to a maximum of 12 months in addition to any fine he is ordered to pay.

If you’ve been charged with petit or grand larceny, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side right away. Call us today at 888-386-3898 to schedule a free consultation.


Darwyn L. Easley
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Attorney and Counsellor at Law

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Easley Law Firm

  • 10521 Judicial Drive
    Suite 205

    Fairfax, VA 22030
  • Phone: 703-865-6610
  • Fax: 703-842-6101
  • Toll Free: 888-386-3898
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