Larceny is the legal term for theft. Package theft in Virginia is a form of theft. Virginia law classifies theft into two types: grand and petty.
Whether the crime is grand theft (a felony) or petty theft (a misdemeanor) depends upon the value of what was allegedly stolen. In 2020, Virginia raised the value of stolen property that qualifies for grand larceny from $500 to $1,000. Currently, if the swiped package is worth $1,000 or more, it is grand theft. If it is less than $1,000, it is petty theft.
The charged crime’s classification – a felony or a misdemeanor – significantly affects possible punishments.
How Technology and Social Media Have Affected Package Theft Prosecutions
Amazon, Walmart, and other package delivery services are thriving. They deliver millions of packages to residential front doors each day. Some of those packages get stolen. But Virginia law has not classified porch piracy or package theft as any specific crime. It remains larceny. Even though the law has not adapted to this new type of crime, technology has.
Homeowners install cameras on their doors and front porches to monitor traffic. The homeowner can provide that information to the police if a package is stolen. But homeowners also upload the video onto social media and ask the community to help identify the package thief. It’s the 21st-century version of a wanted poster.
The bottom line is that because of technology, if a person commits package theft, there is a significant chance of getting caught. If the person is caught, there is a big chance of getting convicted. If someone is arrested for or charged with theft, the goal is to obtain the least severe sentence possible. Our Virginia criminal law attorneys can help with that.
Penalties for Felony Theft
In Virginia, grand theft is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Petty theft, while not as severe, still has significant consequences. A defendant convicted of petit larceny can serve up to 12 months in jail and be fined $2,500.
Also, a misdemeanor theft charge can become aggravated under the law to become a felony. When a person already has two prior theft convictions and is charged with committing a third theft, the Commonwealth can charge that person with felony theft, whatever the value of the allegedly stolen items is.
What Is a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
If a person is convicted of a theft crime, there will be an effect on their life because they’ve been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. Crimes involving lying, cheating, or stealing are crimes of moral turpitude – a crime that violates the community’s moral standards. Package theft and other types of theft are crimes of moral turpitude.
Being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, including package theft, may negatively affect your ability to:
- Obtain federal employment security clearance
- Join the military
- Obtain employment, including professions requiring character evaluations
- Get admitted to college
If you’re thinking about stealing packages off someone’s porch, don’t. You’ll probably get caught and face life-altering criminal charges. If you have been charged with porch piracy, we can help. Depending upon your facts, it could be possible to get the charge reduced to one that does not involve moral turpitude.
Contact a Virginia Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Today
An experienced criminal defense attorney in Virginia Beach can help defend you against allegations of package theft. Preparing the best defense possible includes focusing on the value of the allegedly stolen property and keeping a misdemeanor from becoming a felony. If you’ve been charged with package theft, contact Shannon & Associates, P.C. today to learn more about how we can defend your rights. Call for your free consultation at (757) 228-5529.