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Woodbridge Theft Charges

December 17, 2023

Dealing with Theft Charges in Woodbridge, Virginia

If you or a loved one has been charged with theft in Woodbridge, it can be an extremely stressful and confusing time. Theft charges in Woodbridge often involve jail time or heavy fines, so having an experienced Woodbridge theft lawyer on your side is crucial.

Understanding Woodbridge Theft Charges

In Woodbridge, theft charges can either be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the circumstances. According to Virginia law, a misdemeanor theft charge carries up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Felony theft charges have much harsher potential penalties of 1-20 years in prison.

Some key factors that determine whether a theft charge is a misdemeanor or felony include:

  • Value of items stolen – Thefts of items worth $200 or less are usually misdemeanors, while thefts above $200 become felonies
  • Number of prior convictions – Two prior theft convictions can cause a petty theft to be charged as a felony
  • Type of items stolen – Stealing firearms, cars, or other specialty items often leads to felony charges regardless of value

Woodbridge does not offer probation or reduced sentences for theft convictions, so working with an attorney to fight the charges or mitigate penalties is crucial.

Consequences of a Woodbridge Theft Conviction

According to local attorneys, theft convictions in Woodbridge almost always involve jail time. The amount of time depends on whether it is a misdemeanor or felony.

For a misdemeanor, defendants can expect up to 12 months in jail. First-time offenders may avoid the maximum but should still expect weeks or months behind bars. Felony convictions bring much harsher penalties of 1-20 years in prison depending on specifics of the case.

In addition to jail time, defendants face fines up to $2,500 for misdemeanors and greater amounts for felonies. They will also have a permanent criminal record that can hurt job prospects, rental applications, and more for years to come.

Building a Defense Against Theft Charges

Fighting theft charges in Woodbridge can be an uphill battle, but an experienced lawyer may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed. According to attorneys, some potential defenses include:

  • Lack of criminal intent – If the theft was a genuine mistake or misunderstanding, this may invalidate charges
  • Improper police procedures – Violations of rights or sloppy police work could get evidence thrown out
  • Mistaken identity – If the defendant was not the actual person who committed the theft

An attorney can review the details of the case and determine if any of these defenses apply. They can also negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or sentencing in exchange for a guilty plea if defenses are unlikely to succeed.

Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Theft Case

Since theft convictions often lead to jail time in Woodbridge, the consequences are too severe not to have an experienced lawyer by your side. When researching attorneys, make sure to:

  • Find someone familiar with local laws, prosecutors, and courts
  • Choose an aggressive lawyer willing to fight for you in court
  • Ask about their case success rate and specific experience with theft cases
  • Understand fee structures and payment options before retaining

Relying on an overworked public defender or representing yourself is not advisable given the likely jail sentence. A private lawyer with extensive theft experience gives you the best chance of the best possible result.

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Dealing with theft charges in Woodbridge can be extremely difficult, but having an experienced attorney on your side can help mitigate consequences. Be proactive in building your defense, understanding your options, and fighting for the best possible outcome. The costs of a conviction are simply too high not to take these charges seriously.

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