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New Virginia law strengthens penalties for retail theft 

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Criminal Defense

In response to an uptick in certain criminal activities, Virginia lawmakers recently passed a law that significantly increases the penalties that individuals will face in the event that they are convicted of retail theft in the state. 

The bill specifically targets the phenomenon of organized retail theft, which has recently become a regular feature on many Americans’ TikTok feeds. Unlike other forms of retail theft, organized shoplifting involves groups of individuals working either together to steal merchandise in a coordinated effort. 

Virginia lawmakers were prompted to action by the viral nature of this trend and the fact that state-funded analysis indicates that $1.3 billion in merchandise is lost via organized retail theft in the state each and every year. In order to respond to this reality, the state will now impose a prison sentence of up to 20 years for those who are convicted of this particular form of criminal wrongdoing. 

The state will now consider the theft of merchandise valued at over $5,000 within a 90-day period to be organized retail theft, provided that an alleged offender conspired or acted with at least one other individual when stealing the merchandise with the intention to sell the goods for profit. 

Responding to this change

By understanding the consequences associated with retail theft, more Virginians will hopefully be inspired to treat their circumstances with great urgency. All too often, when someone is accused of retail theft, they treat the situation as no more pressing than a parking ticket. This is no longer an appropriate response to such charges, at least here.

Now that Virginian lawmakers have decided to increase the penalties associated with a conviction for this particular form of wrongdoing, more Virginians will hopefully seek the guidance of an experienced legal professional in order to better protect their rights and mitigate the risk of serious consequences.