Grand/Petit Larceny

Elements of the Offense

In order for a defendant to be found guilty of grand larceny in Virginia, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the defendant took personal property of another person and carried it away, (2) that the taking was against the will and without the consent of the owner, (3) that the taking was with intent to steal, and (4) that the property taken was worth $200 or more.

The value of the property does not matter if the item taken is a handgun, rifle or shotgun.  The defendant can also be found guilty of grand larceny – specifically “grand larceny from the person” – if the property was taken directly from the person and the value of the property was $5 or more.   “Larceny from the person” includes not only property in physical contact with the victim, but also property in his possession and immediate custody and control.  (It does not include circumstances in which there was any force or threat used in the taking of the property.  In that case, the charge would become the more serious offense of robbery.)

If the government can make out the first three elements of larceny but fails to prove that the property taken was valued at $200 or more, the defendant can be found guilty of petit larceny.  Likewise, if the “taking” is “from” the person but the government is unable to prove that the value of the property is $5 or more, the defendant can be convicted of “petit larceny from the person.”  Va. Criminal Code § 18.2-95.


A person convicted of grand larceny as a first-time offender can be sentenced from one to 20 years imprisonment in a state correctional institution.  Alternatively, at the discretion of the jury or a judge trying the case without a jury, the person can be sent to jail for a period not to exceed 12 months.  The person can also be fined a maximum fine of $2,500.  Va. Criminal Code § 18.2-95.

The maximum penalty for a petit larceny conviction is 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.  Va. Criminal Code §18.2-96.