The Virginia General Assembly is currently meeting for its 2021 Session. One of the bills being considered is HB 2290, which eliminates the provision of law that establishes a 30 day mandatory minimum for a second larceny conviction, and deems any third conviction a Felony (even if the larceny would otherwise be a misdemeanor Petit Larceny). As of February 2, 2021, this bill has passed the house and been referred to the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee. This is not currently law, and may not become law. Rather this is a change that be be approved by the Senate and the Governor later in the Session.
This bill reflects a broader movement in Virginia to eliminate Mandatory Minimums, which strip Judges of their discretion in sentencing, and may result in unjustly long sentences. Under the current statutory scheme, a charge for larceny of even $10 would be a felony, subject to a mandatory minimum.
Here is what Va. Code 18.2-104 currently says:
When a person is convicted of an offense of larceny or any offense deemed to be or punished as larceny under any provision of the Code, and it is alleged in the warrant, indictment or information on which he is convicted, and admitted, or found by the jury or judge before whom he is tried, that he has been before convicted in the Commonwealth of Virginia or in another jurisdiction for any offense of larceny or any offense deemed or punishable as larceny, or of any substantially similar offense in any other jurisdiction, regardless of whether the prior convictions were misdemeanors, felonies or a combination thereof, he shall be confined in jail not less than thirty days nor more than twelve months; and for a third, or any subsequent offense, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.
In short a second larceny (of any amount) or similar offense has a minimum 30 day jail sentence. On top of that, a third offense (of any amount) is a Class 6 Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and the loss of civil rights.
HB 2290 repeals Va. Code 18.2-104 in its entirety, which would have the effect of treating each larceny offense individually, without adding disproportional mandatory penalties for what may be fairly minimal offenses.
That said, even in the absence of mandatory minimums, multiple convictions for the same offense may very well lead to increased sentencing. Under both the current statutory scheme, and with any amendments that may be made, it is important that you hire a qualified local criminal defense attorney to represent you.
If you have been charged with any larceny or theft offense in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, or Loudoun, contact us to learn how we can help you.