A Guide to Theft Laws & Penalties in Washington State

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Sep 10

Lewis & Laws

A Guide to Theft Laws & Penalties in Washington State

by Lewis & Laws

A Guide to Theft Laws & Penalties in Washington State

Learn more about WA shoplifting laws and Washington theft penalties.

Have you been accused of theft in Washington State? In Washington, theft is defined as wrongfully taking or obtaining property or services with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of that property or of the value of the services. Appropriating lost or mistakenly delivered property is also considered theft.

As in most states, theft in Washington is categorized based on its severity. The value of the stolen item or service generally determines the penalty for theft. However, with certain types of property, such as motor vehicles or firearms, the value of the stolen item doesn’t determine how the theft is classified.

Criminal penalties are divided into two general categories in Washington: misdemeanors and felonies. The following are different levels of theft offenses in Washington State and their respective penalties:

Theft 1st Degree

A theft offense is classified as theft in the first degree if the value of the property (other than a firearm or vehicle) or services stolen exceeds $5,000. Theft in the first degree is a Class B felony that is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine.

Theft 2nd Degree

A theft offense is classified as theft in the second degree if the value of the property or services stolen exceeds $750 but is less than $5,000. The theft of an access device, such as a card, code, or other form of account access, is also considered theft of the 2nd degree. Theft in the second degree is a Class C felony that is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Theft 3rd Degree

The theft of property or services with a value of less than $750 is classified as theft of the third degree. Most Washington shoplifting cases fall under this category. Theft of the third degree is a gross misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Penalties for most felonies are governed by Washington State sentencing guidelines. Judges must stay within this sentencing range unless there are aggravating or mitigating factors that allow them to impose an exceptional sentence above or below this standard. Some defendants may even qualify for sentencing alternatives, such as a first-time offender waiver. It is unlikely that you would receive a maximum sentence if you are accused of theft but have no criminal record.

A theft charge can be embarrassing and have long-term, life-altering consequences. If you are accused of theft in Washington State, you could face jail time and fines, and the charge could stay on your permanent record. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney by your side.

Looking for a Washington Theft Lawyer?

Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws can help you weigh your options and protect your rights. If you’re facing any kind of theft charge or shoplifting charge in Washington State, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can guide you through the process that lies ahead and help you achieve the best possible outcome in court. Call 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form for a free case review. 



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