Shoplifting Criminal defense lawyer
Serving WV Eastern Panhandle
Shoplifting Offenses and Convictions in West Virginia
Shoplifting crimes in West Virginia are managed on a $500 threshold. While initial or first-time shoplifting convictions in West Virginia may result in small fines, the penalties become progressively severe with subsequent shoplifting convictions. A first offense of taking merchandise worth more than $500 could result in a fine and time in jail. Ultimately, while many may consider shoplifting a “minor” crime, a third offense is a felony under West Virginia law. Trump & Trump, L.C. offers criminal defense for shoplifting offenses, so call one of our offices in Berkeley Springs or Martinsburg today.
First Shoplifting Offense: For merchandise with a value under $500, shoplifting is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of no more than $250. For merchandise valued at $500 or more, it is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine ranging from $100 to $500, confinement in jail for a period of not more than 60 days, or both. (W.Va. Code § 61-3A-3.)
Second Shoplifting Offense: For merchandise with a value of $500 or less, shoplifting is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine ranging from $100 to $500, confinement in jail for less than six months, or both. For stolen merchandise with a value over $500, shoplifting is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of at least $500, confinement in jail for six to 12 months, or both. ( § 61-3A-3.)
Third Shoplifting Offense: Stolen merchandise of any amount is a felony that carries a punishment of a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000, imprisonment for one to ten years. In this situation, the offender must spend at least one year in actual confinement, except in limited cases where home detention may be an option. ( § 61-3A-3.)
Civil Penalties and Liabilities for Theft Crimes in West Virginia
In addition to the criminal penalties, a person convicted of shoplifting in West Virginia is liable to the merchant for:
the return of the merchandise to the store;
actual damages, if the merchandise is damaged or not recovered, including the value of the merchandise;
other actual damages arising from the incident; and
reimbursement of the store owner’s reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees in bringing the civil action. (W.Va. Code § 61-3A-5.)
Effect of Prior Convictions on Theft Charges in West Virginia
Most residents of West Virginia know that prior convictions can impact the sentence imposed on a newer criminal conviction. Any convictions on an offender’s criminal record, for theft or any other type of crime, can result in harsher punishments at sentencing. Speak with a West Virginia criminal law attorney from Trump & Trump, L.C. to better understand how prior theft-related convictions can affect you.
Theft Charges Under West Virginia Law
West Virginia criminal law refers to theft as “larceny.” It is a term many states use interchangeably. Larceny occurs when an offender takes property belonging to someone else unlawfully and intends to deprive the rightful owner of his or her property. There are specific references in the law for:
larceny of bank notes, checks, and writings of value (W.Va. Code § 61.3.14.)
receiving or transferring stolen goods ( § 61.3.18.)
embezzlement ( § 61.3.20.), and
obtaining money, property, and services by false pretenses ( § 61.3.24.)
Specific Theft Offenses and Penalties in West Virginia
West Virginia classifies most theft offenses according to the value of the property or services involved in the offense. Under West Virginia law, a theft offense can be either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. The following defines specific types of theft crimes in West Virginia, beginning with petit larceny, also known as petty theft.
Misdemeanor Theft / Petit Larceny: The lowest-level theft offense in West Virginia in addition to minor shoplifting crimes is called “petit larceny,” or petty theft, which is defined as theft of property or services valued at less than $1,000.
Petit larceny is a misdemeanor in West Virginia, punishable by a sentence of incarceration of up to one year, a fine of no more than $2,500, or both, in the discretion of the court. (W.Va. Code § 61-3-13(b).)
Felony Theft / Grand Larceny: Theft is “grand larceny” in West Virginia if the value of the goods or services stolen is $1,000 or more.
Grand larceny is a felony in West Virginia, and offenders may receive a sentence of imprisonment in the state penitentiary of one to ten years, or a sentence of imprisonment in jail for not more than one year, in the judge’s discretion, and a fine of not more than $2,500. ( § 61-3-13(a).)
Shoplifting Criminal Defense in WV from Trump & Trump, L.C.