What Class Felony is Embezzlement in Virginia?
Embezzlement and Larceny can both be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Felony larceny (grand larceny 18.2-95) and felony offense embezzlement are punishable by max 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, not more than. Whereas, Misdemeanor larceny offense (petit larceny 18.2-96) and misdemeanor embezzlement (18.2-111) are punishable by max 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500, not more than that.
Given that the edge between a misdemeanor and a felony can mean approximately 19-year difference in the maximum jail term, it’s serious that any defense lawyer fully explore and challenge any proof as to the value of the things alleged to have been stolen.
Even if the items were worth more than the $200, the prosecutor may have to struggle proving this. There are different cases from the Virginia Supreme Court and Virginia Court of Appeals that discussing how the worth can be proven. These types of cases create a situation where it can be very tough for a prosecutor to prove the worth of a thing which was stolen.
For example, where a store fails to save the value tag that was stick to an item which was stolen, the prosecutor usually has to offer expert evidence on the value of the item at the time it was stolen. It’s not appropriate for an employee to say he read the value tag and then say what the price was—this is tittle-tattle and is subject to other complaints. Thus, given the mistakes that store workers make in handling these type of cases, it may be likely to challenge things that may seem clear to you, but from a lawful standpoint aren’t so easily proven. And again, this is why you should only hire an attorney with substantial experience in handling theft, embezzlement cases, and larceny.
In general, an individual with previous criminal record will receive more prison time than an individual who has no previous criminal conviction record. A case involving a larger amount of money will receive more prison time than one with less cash at issue.
Although, the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines aren’t the mandatory guidelines. In other words, the judge or the magistrate is free to ignore the guidelines if he wants to. If the crime is particularly egregious, the judge can impose more jail time above and beyond what the guidelines recommend, completely the judge’s choice. Similarly, the judge can enforce less jail time than the guidelines recommend. So, it’s very important to have an experienced and respected defense lawyer to present and defend your case.
Sometimes an agreement can be reached with the prosecutor at the initial hearing that caps the level of imprisonment at the low end or midpoint of the penalizing guidelines, or an agreement that the punishment be within the guidelines, or an agreement to the guidelines if the guidelines work out to no imprisonment.