Robbery and Theft

Home 9 Robbery and Theft

Types of Robbery and Theft

  • Individual
  • Attempted Robbery
  • Strong-Arm Robbery
  • Armed Robbery
  • Shoplifting
  • Home Invasion
  • Piracy
  • Carjacking

Charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies depending on the value of that which was stolen and the manner in which it was stolen. For instance, shoplifting items totaling less than $200 would be a misdemeanor but for anything $200 and greater would be a felony.

Robbery, which is taking from the physical person of the alleged victim as in a mugging, or theft which involves a weapon or threat of violence are typically felonies. These charges are often broadly defined and come in a wide variety of categories including obtaining money through false pretenses, embezzling funds, and the act of extortion.

Larceny, which usually does not involve the use of force, is still considered a common law crime of theft. Petty larceny is a misdemeanor charge, where as grand larceny is considered a felony. The receipt of stolen property can be construed as a crime if the person in possession of the stolen property has prior knowledge or should have had knowledge that the property was stolen.

Courts in Newport News and other communities in Virginia impose severe penalties on individuals convicted of robbery and other theft offenses. Shoplifting, which too many people assume is a minor violation of the law, is a serious offense that could cause a judge to send someone to jail for up to a year and a fine up to $2,500. For robbery legal defense, the team of attorneys at The Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., has the experience and legal know-how to provide superior representation for all theft offenses from misdemeanors to serious felonies, including robbery.

Elements of Theft Offenses

Larceny, which is also referred to as theft, is a crime that must include each of the following elements:

Taking and carrying away:

  • The property of another person
  • Without the consent of the owner
  • With the intent of permanently depriving the owner of it

The value of the property and the manner in which it is taken distinguishes the different types of theft offenses and the penalties associated with each of them. Your lawyer analyzes the facts and circumstances of your case to determine the best defense strategy.


Robbery is a theft offense defined in Va. Code §18.2-58. The difference between it and other larceny offenses is the added element of force or violence. Taking personal property from a person using violence, force, threats or intimidation is a robbery if the other elements of a larceny are also present.

The owner of the property must be physically in control of the property or close enough to be capable of asserting control at the time the property is taken. A Virginia attorney planning your defense understands the absence of evidence proving the use of violence or force coupled with the owner not be present or in control of the property could prevent prosecutors from proving a robbery charge. Larceny attorneys understand how important this can be to a defense because a robbery is a felony punishable by minimum prison confinement of five years to a maximum of life imprisonment. Penalties for other theft offenses might not be as severe.

If a person uses a firearm to commit a robbery, prosecutors may file an additional charge for a violation of Va. Code §18.2-53.1. A defense attorney knows the use of a firearm requires an aggressive defense because it could add an additional three years in prison to a sentence for a first offense, and five years for a second offense.

You could need a Virginia robbery attorney even if you only attempt to commit the crime. An attempt is a violation of VA. Code §18.2-26. Because robbery is a noncapital felony punishable by up to life imprisonment, an attempt is prosecuted as a Class 4 felony for which Va. Code §18.2-10 allows a judge to sentence you to imprisonment for at least two years up to a maximum term of 10 years and fines up to $100,000.

Virginia Theft Offenses

Although the conduct of a person might not warrant a robbery charge, there are other serious offenses requiring the services of a skilled Hampton criminal defense lawyer. Larceny offenses include the following:

  • Petit Larceny (Va. Code §18.2-96): A larceny in which money or property with a value of less than $5 is taken from a person it is a petit larceny. Property that is not taken from a person, as with property taken from an office desk when the owner walks away, is also a petit larceny if the value of the property is less than $200. Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $2,500, up to 12 months in jail or a combination of both. A conviction in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach or elsewhere in the commonwealth for a second larceny could result in a judge imposing 30-day minimum jail term.
  • Grand larceny (Va. Code §18.2-95): Taking property valued at $5 or more from another person is a grand larceny. It is also a grand larceny to take a firearm of any value or property valued at $200 or more from someplace other than from a person. Grand larceny is a felony for which a person can be sentenced to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $2,500.
  • Carjacking (Va. Code §18.2-58.1): Intentionally seizing or taking control of another person’s motor vehicle without the owner’s consent in order to deprive the owner of the vehicle is a form of robbery referred to as carjacking. A key element of the crime that prosecutors must prove existed is the use of violence or threats of violence to gain control of the vehicle. Use of a deadly weapon, such as a gun, would be a form of violence. Carjacking is punishable by imprisonment for 15 years to life.
  • Burglary (Va. Code §18.2-89): Breaking into and entering another person’s home at night with the intent to commit a larceny is a burglary punished as a Class 3 felony. However, if the person accused of the crime was in possession of a deadly weapon, the crime becomes a Class 2 felony. Punishment may include imprisonment for one to 20 years, but if a deadly weapon was used, the maximum imprisonment could be for life.
  • Extortion (Va. Code §18.2-59): The elements of the crime of extortion might appear similar to robbery because they both involve threats of harm to another person, but extortion goes beyond acts constituting physical violence. Threatening to harm another person’s reputation unless the person agrees to turn offer money or something else of value is a felony. You can be convicted of the crime even if the victim does not make payment as demanded. Evidence of the threat being made is sufficient for prosecutors to obtain a conviction. Penalties upon conviction could include imprisonment for up to 10 years on a Class 5 felony.

The larceny attorneys at The Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., are a good source of legal advice and guidance if you believe you might be under investigation by law enforcement. Conduct you might not immediately associate with a larceny offense could lead to felony charges against you. For example, bullying is defined under the Va. Code §22.1-276.01 as aggressive behavior intended to harm or intimidate another person. If the individual engaged in the offending conduct demands payment or something of value from the victim, it could support either a robbery charge under Va. Code §18.2-58 or extortion as defined in Va. Code §18.2-59.

Hampton Roads Robbery & Theft Attorneys

Prosecutors must prove each element of a larceny offense in order to convict you of the crime. Until they do so, the charges are merely accusations. The aggressive defense provided by an attorney from The Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., can make be the difference between being acquitted and being convicted. Schedule a free and confidential initial consultation by calling (757) 896-0868.