Virginia Shoplifting Laws Penalties Petit Larceny Grand Misdemeanor Felony Prince William County

Virginia Shoplifting Laws & Penalties

Virginia Shoplifting Laws

Shoplifting is defined as a larceny in Virginia. The value of the merchandise will determine if your shoplifting charge is going to be charged as a petit (petty) larceny or grand larceny in Virginia.

If the value of the good stolen is valued at $200 or more, then the person accused of shoplifting is facing a grand larceny charge in Virginia.

If the value of the good stolen is valued less than $200, then the person accused of shoplifting is facing a petit (petty) larceny charge in Virginia.

Shoplifting cases in Virginia are frequently actually charged under the Virginia concealment statute. The concealment statute makes it a larceny to conceal merchandise or alter the price tag of merchandise, in order to take the merchandise.

Virginia Code Section 18.2-103 defines what concealment in Virginia:

Whoever, without authority, with the intention of converting goods or merchandise to his own or another’s use without having paid the full purchase price thereof, or of defrauding the owner of the value of the goods or merchandise, (i) willfully conceals or takes possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, or (ii) alters the price tag or other price marking on such goods or merchandise, or transfers the goods from one container to another, or (iii) counsels, assists, aids or abets another in the performance of any of the above acts, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is less than $200, shall be guilty of petit larceny and, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is $200 or more, shall be guilty of grand larceny. The willful concealment of goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, while still on the premises thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to convert and defraud the owner thereof out of the value of the goods or merchandise.

The concealment statute enables the Commonwealth of Virginia to prosecute shoplifting cases more easily.

Again, depending on the value of the goods or merchandise in question, your Virginia shoplifting charge could be considered petit (petty) larceny or grand larceny.

Shoplifting Penalties

If you are charged with shoplifting in Virginia, the penalties are very serious and the punishments imposed by the court can be very harsh.

The precise penalty you will face in court depends upon the type of Virginia shoplifting charge you are charged with, the facts of your case, and your prior record.

Petty larceny
• Misdemeanor
• Up to 1 year in jail
• Up to a $2,500 fine

Grand larceny:
• Felony
• Up to 20 years in jail

Defense of Virginia shoplifting by the SRIS Law Group Virginia Shoplifting Defense Lawyers:

There are many different ways to defend a shoplifting charge in Virginia:

  • Can the prosecutor prove that you were the one who was actually involved with the shoplifting? Maybe the friend who was with you was the actual perpetrator and you are an innocent bystander.
  • Can the prosecution prove that you took the goods with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of the goods?
  • What is the actual value of the goods allegedly taken by you?


Some Virginia lawyers will frequently tell their clients that if you are charged with a petty shoplifting charge and you have a clean record, you may be able to get your shoplifting charge dismissed under the first time offender program some jurisdictions have.

THIS IS A MYTH – Even though you can have your Virginia shoplifting charge dismissed, what you are not told is that it can still come back to haunt you.


Because, even if the shoplifting charge is dismissed, your criminal record reflects that you received a first time offender treatment because you have to enter a plea of guilty to get this treatment.

This can still result in loss of your security clearance and it also may have immigration consequences depending on your immigration status.

So please keep this in mind when some inexperienced lawyers tell you that a first offender disposition can be a great way to prevent a misdemeanor from tarnishing your clean record.

Lastly, some jurisdictions like Prince William County do not have first time offender treatment option for shoplifting.

The Prince William County judges impose a 2 day jail sentence for even the first offense of shoplifting in Prince William County, Virginia.

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