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Are you concerned about a grand larceny charge in Fairfax County, Virginia? 

Grand larceny convictions can lead to huge consequences for the future. Everything from getting a job to securing a loan can be more difficult with a criminal record. 

That’s why it’s so important to know what to do after being charged with grand larceny. To answer that question in full, let’s take a look at the following three things:

  • What grand larceny is
  • What the penalties for grand larceny are
  • How hiring legal counsel for grand larceny can help

Read on to learn more. 

What Is Grand Larceny?

Larceny is a kind of theft that involves the taking of another person’s property without their consent. It must involve the clear intent to deprive them of the property permanently. 

The two main kinds of larceny are petit (or petty) larceny and grand larceny. The difference between the two has to do with both the value and nature of the stolen property. 

Petit larceny is typically for stolen items valued under $1,000. 

Grand larceny, according to the Code of Virginia subsection 18.2 – 95, means:

  • theft of items valued at over $1,000
  • theft of a firearm
  • theft from a person of over $5

The theft of items over $1,000 can be either personal items or items from a store. This also means that shoplifting can be grand larceny if the stolen items are over $1,000.

Theft of a firearm, regardless of its retail value, can be charged as grand larceny. 

Theft from a person means taking something that’s directly in their control. That can mean pickpocketing a $20 bill or taking a backpack or purse from them.   


Penalties for Grand Larceny in Fairfax County

Most grand larceny charges in Fairfax County, Virginia are felony offenses. That’s because both the felony threshold and the grand larceny threshold are $1,000. 

The penalties for grand larceny include a fine of up to $2,500, a jail sentence of up to 20 years, or both. 

In addition to these immediate penalties, there are other related penalties that can affect your future. For example, those with felony convictions may find it hard to find jobs, rent property, or secure loans. Alongside this, there is the loss of voting rights and gun rights plus potential deportation for noncitizens. 



Benefits of Hiring Legal Counsel for Grand Larceny

If you’ve been charged with grand larceny and want to avoid the worst consequences, then staying silent and hiring legal counsel are essential.

It’s generally a best practice to stay silent if you’re dealing with law enforcement after being charged with grand larceny. Often, law enforcement may try to chat with you to confirm little details, but these seemingly little details can help build up a case against you. 

Rather than unintentionally incriminate yourself, it’s best to stay silent and request a defense lawyer. Once there, they can help you navigate the legal system, build the best defense, and reduce penalties. 

Defense Lawyers Navigate the Legal System

As anyone who has tried to read a lawbook knows, the legal system in the United States is very complex. Often the difference between guilt and innocence rests on the meaning of a very technical term or procedure that the average person isn’t going to know. 

Defense lawyers, however, are professionally trained to know exactly what the legal terms mean and how the legal system works. That’s why hiring legal counsel can help you navigate that system with relative ease.

This kind of help can make preliminary hearings, bail requests, and trials a lot smoother and easier to understand.  

Defense Lawyers Build the Best Defense

Since defense lawyers know exactly what the prosecution needs to prove, they know how to build the best defense for someone who has been charged with grand larceny. This is especially true for defense lawyers specializing in grand larceny cases

Although each case differs, some common defenses that defense lawyers use include:

Lack of Intent

Shoplifting items over $1,000 can result in you being charged with grand larceny. For some action to be “shoplifting,” it has to involve a clear intent to steal. If that intent is lacking, then so is the legal basis for charging the crime. 

A great defense lawyer can show a lack of intent to steal. This may result in your grand larceny charge being dropped entirely or reduced to a lesser charge. 




An alibi defense shows that you were somewhere else when the grand larceny took place. Although it can be a tricky defense, surveillance footage or eyewitness testimony can help prove it — and may lead to grand larceny charges being reduced or dismissed. 


Larceny Under Duress

Committing larceny under duress means that the larceny was caused by the threats, coercion, or intimidation of other people. This can be shown through threatening voicemails, text messages, and other forms of evidence. 

If successful, the larceny under duress defense shows that the person charged with grand larceny bears no responsibility for the crime. 

Defense Lawyers Reduce Penalties

A defense lawyer’s knowledge of the legal system and best defenses can lead to reduced penalties. This applies regardless of whether you choose to plead guilty and skip a trial or plead not guilty and have a trial. 

If you plead guilty, a defense lawyer can skillfully negotiate with the prosecution to get lighter penalties (smaller fines, less jail time, etc.) or a lesser charge. 

If you plead not guilty, a lawyer can help build the best defense by knowing what questions to ask, interviewing witnesses, prepping you for the trial, and much more. 

Get Legal Counsel for Grand Larceny Charges in Fairfax County, Virginia

A conviction for grand larceny can lead to a huge amount of negative consequences. This includes fines and jail time alongside difficulties in finding employment, securing loans, and voting or owning a firearm. 

To avoid the worst of it, it’s best to hire an experienced and specialized defense lawyer. 

Attorney Mark Nicewicz, Esq. has 25 years of experience defending clients against larceny charges in Fairfax County, Virginia. Contact him today to see how he can help. 

Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Law
  • Traffic Violations
  • Reckless Driving
  • Felonies and Misdemeanors

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia, 1985
  • District of Columbia, 1987
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, 1985
  • U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1985
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims


  • University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia
    • J.D. - 1985
  • Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • B.A. magna cum laude - 1982
    • Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
    • Major: Economics & Philosophy
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