The crime of theft in Washington involves taking something that belongs to someone else without the owner’s permission. Theft can be committed not only by taking physical items but also by taking services that one is not entitled to. Shoplifting is a common form of theft.
If you have been accused of or charged with theft, time is of the essence. Hire a competent Spokane theft defense attorney from Twyford Law Office right away. Our firm can craft an effective defense on your behalf.
Give us a call at (509) 327-0777 to get started on your case with a free consultation.
Degrees of Theft
Washington state law classifies theft into three different degrees. The seriousness of each type depends on the value of the property that was taken.
You may be charged with:
First-degree theft: When the item or services taken is worth more than $5,000, that is first-degree theft, a Class B felony. The maximum punishment is 10 years in jail and/or a fine of $20,000.
Second-degree theft: When the item or services taken is worth between $750 and $5,000, that is second-degree theft, a Class C felony. The maximum punishment is five years in jail and/or a fine of $10,000.
Third-degree theft: When the item or services taken is worth less than $750, that is third-degree theft and is classified as a gross misdemeanor. The maximum punishment is one year in jail and/or a fine of $5,000.
The punishments described above are the maximum punishments that a judge is allowed to impose. The actual punishment may be much less. Washington State has a sentencing guideline system for felonies that takes into account both the seriousness of the crime and the prior criminal convictions of the defendant. Judges under the Washington system are not totally locked into the guidelines. They may still use their discretion when ordering punishment.
The sentencing guidelines include a sentencing grid, which uses an offender score based on the defendant’s criminal history.
If you have been charged with theft, you should consult an experienced Spokane criminal defense lawyer right away. An attorney from Twyford Law Office can help you navigate through the complicated criminal justice system and help you seek a favorable possible.
Special Categories of Theft
The law in Washington also makes special provisions for the theft of certain types of goods or services. These include the theft of vehicles, firearms, mail, livestock, rented property, cable or other TV subscriptions, phone services, and even shopping carts. For example, the minimum fine for the theft of livestock is $2,000 per animal taken or killed.
The other special provisions are similarly complicated and you should consult an attorney if any of them apply to you.
In Washington, shoplifting is considered a type of theft and is treated seriously. The punishment for shoplifting, like the punishment for other types of theft, depends on the amount that was taken, the criminal history of the person charged, and in some cases, the type of object that was taken.
If you have been accused of shoplifting, you should consult a criminal defense attorney to find out what your options are and what your next step should be.
Consult with Twyford Law Office
Being charged with theft can be life-changing. The best thing you can do is to get an experienced, dedicated, and aggressive theft defense lawyer by your side guiding you through the process.
Fill out our contact form or call us at (509) 327-0777. We can help you through this challenging time.