A Grand Failure over Grand Larceny
If you attended college, did you ever have that one professor who everyone knew was the strict one? You know, the one who told the class on the first day that no one would get an A? When you did not get an A at the end of the semester, how did you feel? Did you feel like it was unfair, or maybe even unjust?
What if the Commonwealth of Virginia, in comparison to the rest of the United States, was like that strict professor?
Petit vs. Grand Larceny:
Eight months ago, this blog discussed the differences between petit larceny and grand larceny. The biggest difference rests with one very important number.
Two hundred. As in, two hundred dollars.
In Virginia, if the value of the stolen item is $200 or more, you are subject to a charge of grand larceny. Aside from a few exceptions, if the value of the stolen item is less than $200, you may be charged with petit larceny.
Petit larceny is a misdemeanor. Grand larceny is a felony. The main thing between them is that $200 threshold.
Grand Larceny in Virginia:
The $200 threshold is one of the lowest in the nation, which makes Virginia’s penalties for larceny among the strictest in the country. In February of this year, the General Assembly attempted to do something about it.
A bill was introduced that would have raised the grand larceny threshold from $200 to $500. Some saw this as a relaxation of the Commonwealth’s morals and immediately opposed it. Others wisely pointed out the effects of inflation. The current $200 threshold was established in 1980. Due to inflation, $200 in 1980 is equal to $583 today.
In other words, the $500 threshold that was introduced this year in the General Assembly would have been lower than the $583 it would be if the 1980 law had included increases for inflation.
No Change for Grand Larceny:
Citing morals, the legislation to change the grand larceny threshold was voted down in committee. Even though the actual amount of the new threshold would still have been less than the effective value of the amount when the law was passed, Virginia legislators said no.
As the value of $200 decreases every year, real people are negatively affected in court. It takes less and less to be accused of stealing something that would be worth $200. Said another way, it takes less and less to be charged with a felony.
As it gets easier to commit a felony, it becomes more important to hire a good lawyer to help you. If you are in need, call or e-mail today for a free consultation!
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