Va. House votes to double grand larceny threshold

Published: Jan. 31, 2020 at 3:21 PM EST
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Virginia's House of Delegates voted on Friday to double the grand larceny threshold in the commonwealth.

Delegates voted 58-40 for

on Friday, with one delegate (Nick Freitas) abstaining, to raise the threshold for the felony charge from $500 to $1,000.

The summary of the bill states it "increases from $500 to $1,000 the threshold amount of money taken or value of goods or chattel taken at which the crime rises from petit larceny to grand larceny. The bill increases the threshold by the same amount for the classification of certain property crimes."

It was just two years ago that Virginia

from $200, which was tied for the lowest in the country at that time, to $500.

That 2018 move was pushed by Governor Ralph Northam, but he had initially aimed to raise it to $1,000. Republicans agreed to a $500 limit in exchange for Northam's support of legislation overhauling the state's criminal restitution system. The bill ultimately passed the Virginia Senate nearly unanimously after a similar one was voted down the year before.

But now, with Democrats controlling both sides of the Virginia statehouse for the first time in decades, Northam included a move to raise the threshold to $1,000, like he wanted two years ago,

for 2020.

Dr. Nancy Insco told WHSV earlier this month that raising the threshold could be a good step for reform, but she said she'd like to see changes to how misdemeanor thefts stack to felonies, because she said she's seen people in the community receive serious sentences for being convicted of three relatively small thefts.

Republicans said the measure is misguided and that criminals do not need a cost of living adjustment. But Democrats said the threshold needed updating because of the cost of goods and because they say the charge too often saddles young people caught stealing with felony records.


The Associated Press contributed to this article.