Yet another area I have become keenly interested in is the grand larceny threshold. Part of overcriminalization is the proliferation of felony offenses that then bar offenders from voting and some professions.
The value threshold that converts larceny (common law term for theft) from a misdemeanor to a felony is only $200 and that has not been changed since the 80s. Other states have increased their felony threshold to at least $500 and some much more (and I looked up the statute for each state cited!):
- DC – $1000
- MD – Also $1000
- NC – Also a grand (So is West Virginia!)
- Delaware – $1500
- PA is a whopping $2000!
Even Alabama has a $500 threshold, Mississippi a thousand dollars, Georgia $1500 and South Carolina is $2000!
In light of that, Republican Senator Reeves introduced this bill raising the grand larceny threshold to $500:
SB 23 Grand larceny; increases threshold amount of money taken, etc.
SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:
Grand larceny; threshold. Increases from $200 to $500 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.
The other patron is my new hero, Del. Sam Rasoul! The costs of felony prosecutions are greater by definition than misdemeanor ones (the payment for the court-appointed attorney is generally larger to start with) and it would place the Old Dominion in line with most of its sister states, even Deep South ones like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.
I invite the members of the General Assembly to “steal” this idea and at least raise the threshold to $500 (I think $1500 or $2000 is too much – maybe $1000 is about right but $500 is a good start.) and prevent some future over-criminalization. My next blog entry might shock the readers and the General Assembly!
Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders