Shoplifting on the Rise in Seattle

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Nov 22


Shoplifting on the Rise in Seattle

by Anonymous

According to Fox 13 News, the Seattle PD made 53 shoplifting arrests on a single day in June 2021. Thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise were also recovered. A Sergeant for the Seattle Police Department stated arrests were not random shoplifters, rather an organized group whose goal was to resell the items. The arrests occurred at nine stores within a period of 15 hours. 

Shoplifting “rings” are not the norm. Far more often, a single person is arrested for shoplifting. This arrest can adversely affect their entire life. They’ll face serious penalties and a criminal record that is hard to overcome. 

Contrary to the stereotype of the shoplifter who steals high-end merchandise for fun, many shoplifters are stealing items they need and simply cannot afford—like food. In fact, cheese and infant formula are shoplifted more often than any other food. Shoplifting is rarely a premeditated crime—a full 72 percent of juveniles and 73 percent of adults who admitted to shoplifting made the decision once they were inside the store. 

If you are arrested for shoplifting, your best course of action is to immediately contact an experienced Seattle criminal defense lawyer who can help minimize the consequences of your charges.  

Consequences of Shoplifting in Seattle

In the state of Washington, shoplifting is also known as retail theft. The severity of the penalties you will face are directly related to the monetary value of the merchandise that was stolen. 

First-degree theft is a Class B felony in Seattle and is charged when the value of the shoplifted items is more than $5,000. Such a conviction can result in up to ten years in prison, up to $20,000 in fines, and even civil damages awarded to the owner of the company where the shoplifting occurred. 

If the value of the shoplifted items is between $750 and $5,000, you could be charged with a Class C felony. The penalties include up to five years in prison and fines up to $10,000. 

Much more common are gross misdemeanor charges for theft of items valued from $1 to $750. While a gross misdemeanor may sound relatively minor, a conviction could result in up to a year in jail, and up to $5,000 in fines. 

You will also have a criminal record that will be with you for the rest of your life. This could adversely affect your ability to obtain employment or even rent an apartment. If this is your first arrest your attorney could potentially get you into a diversion program to minimize the effects of the charges and a potential conviction. 

Getting Help for Your Shoplifting Charges

Unfortunately, in shoplifting cases, the intent is not nearly as important as in other types of theft cases. Physical evidence, in the form of the stolen goods, will weigh more heavily against you than your actual intent might help. That is not to say that an argument might not be made for accidentally taking an item, especially if no attempt was made to conceal the article. 

For example, perhaps you tried on several items and were walking around the store to see if the shoes you tried on fit correctly. You forgot you were wearing the shoes and walked out of the store. 

If there was a witness to the shoplifting incident, your attorney may be able to cast doubt as to whether the eyewitness actually identified the right person. Depending on your specific circumstances, your attorney may be able to implement certain other defenses as well.   

Facing Shoplifting Charges in Seattle? We can Help! 

Seattle prosecutors deal with shoplifting charges harshly. They often attempt to increase the severity of the charges and work for maximum penalties. As such, you need a Seattle criminal defense attorney on your side. 

Don’t take chances with your future; contact a Seattle criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The experienced lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC,  have successfully defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form.

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