Riverdale, MD asked in Consumer Law, Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for Virginia

Q: Hi. I was wondering during if I would go to jail for a second theft charge?

my last theft was from 3 years ago and all I had for this new theft charge was a necklace and nothing else.

1 Lawyer Answer
Bernard Crane
Bernard Crane
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Washington, DC
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Its almost impossible to answer this question in a vacuum. There are too many variables. You say your "LAST" theft charge. You didn't say your "only other" theft charge. If this is your third or more theft charge, there is a higher probaility of at least SOME jail time. Judges generally believe that each successive conviction should earn you a progressively more stiff sentence. Its like a doctor trying to decide on the correct dosage of an antiviral drug - if the last dosage didn't do the trick, it would be silly to give the patient the same thing again.

The more important question is, have there been some signifigant stresses or mitigating factors that caused the person to re-offend? Is it a relapse of some mentail health condition? Did he go off his meds? Did he have a death in the family or lose a career job or break up with a wife? All these and similar factors are things that might make a judge consider a probationary sentence even if its not the defendant's first time around the block. The trick is to point out why THIS situation is different from the last one, and exactly WHY the jduge should take this chance with the person, even if probation didn't work before. A sentecing plan that includes a mental health assessment, an education program or job sounseling program set up and waiting, or things tailored tothe defendant's special needs go a long way in a case like this.

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