The Importance of Achieving an Expungable Outcome on Your Petit Larceny Case

March 6, 2023
consumer thief’s hands putting the new gadget in the pocket in the store

When you have a charge for petit larceny VA, one of the most desired results is having achieving an expungable outcome for your case. For a charge to be eligible for expungement it had to have resulted in a nolle prosequi (dropped charge), you being acquitted during the trial, or having the charge “otherwise dismissed” (e.g. under 19.2-298.02, which is a deferred disposition in a criminal case as per Virginia law, or an accord & satisfaction under 19.2-151).

Having a Virginia expungement with larceny Virginia is important because such a charge can be damaging to your permanent record. Whenever a thorough background check is run under your name and identifying information, the past petit larceny charge will show up. Because larceny is considered a crime of moral turpitude, commonly defined as “an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community,” it can negatively impact your career and other life events such as immigration.

Defining a Petit Larceny

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-96, petit larceny is the theft of money or an item of fewer than five dollars in value from an individual or the act of simple larceny, which is the theft of assets or goods that have a value of less than $1,000 which are not taken from a person.

Despite a crime of comparably low value, to be charged with petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor and carries strict punishment, including fines of up to $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail. There is also the long-term damage of having a larceny conviction on your record.

Expungable Outcomes for Petit Larceny

An expungable outcome for petit larceny can include a dropped charge, an acquittal at trial, or a dismissal. These outcomes may seem similar, but they are inherently different in how they are usually effectuated.

Nolle Prosequi and Dismissal

Nolle prosequi, when translated from Latin, means “I do not wish to prosecute,” and as such, the prosecution will drop any charges against you and will not be perusing the case. The prosecution could choose to drop any charges against you for petit larceny for numerous reasons.

Nolle prosequi is not an acquittal but instead a dropping of the charges. What this means is that it is a prosecutor has decided that they do not want to proceed with the prosecution at that time. Most often, this concludes the case. However, in some instances, a prosecutor nolle prosses a case with the intent of bringing the charge back (e.g. if they are missing a key witness and not granted a continuance).

This should not be confused with a dismissal. Like a nolle prosequi, a dismissal can occur on the prosecution’s motion. However, it can also be the result of a pre-trial motion or a plea negotiation. Some of the most common reasons for dismissal include the following:

  • Successfully litigating a motion to suppress, challenging the officer’s stop, arrest, or key statements, that the absence of which would render the case untenable.
  • An accord & satisfaction where the defendant and the alleged victim in a case have arrived at a civil remedy for a criminal misdemeanor of appropriate species.
  • Successful completion of terms and conditions for a deferred finding. Take note, however, that only a deferred finding that is rooted in Virginia Code 19.2-298.02 can be potentially eligible for expungement (with the agreement of the parties). Court offered first offender programs that do not rely on this statute are NOT considered “otherwise dismissed” for the purposes of expungement.

Why You Want a Petit Larceny Case Expunged

One of the key reasons you should hire an expungement attorney Fairfax, VA, when charged is to ensure that your petit larceny charge does not become a part of your record. Having a larceny charge can lead to negative consequences years after the event. Even a petit larceny charge can impact your life in notable ways. Losing out on employment can negatively impact your career and potential earnings. In addition, having a larceny on your record can make immigration very difficult and can even impact international travel.

When You Need Legal Representation

When you need legal representation in Virginia, Rudolphi Law can help. In addition to receiving fair legal representation, we will try very hard to secure an expungable outcome for your petit larceny case. Make no mistake, petit larceny charges can have a significant effect on your future. Seeking out the best possible outcome is a must. Contact us today for a consultation.