Ashbach Law Offices, LLC provides aggressive, strong defense for those charged with Theft and Shoplifting throughout Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. A theft conviction can have serious impacts on a person’s life. These often include loss of employment (or ability to obtain employment), loss of security clearances, inability to find housing, jail time, court costs, probation, among many other concerns.
Our goal is to aggressively represent clients charged with theft or shoplifting allegations to achieve the best possible result: dismissal. While each case has to be treated independently and has its own pitfalls and difficulty, our office has the knowledge, experience and track record to protect you, your career, and your liberty.
With a history of obtaining dismissals throughout the local court systems, we stand by ready to fight your case and build a strong defense. Our job is to help good people in bad situations. Let us help you. Please call or text us at 360.474.7872 today for a free, no-pressure consultation.
Washington State has three degrees of simple theft. First Degree Theft and Second Degree Theft are felonies, while Third Degree Theft is a gross misdemeanor. The theft statutes contemplate the unauthorized taking or “exertion of unauthorized control” over the property or services of others. Services include labor, professional services and hotel services, in addition to many other types.
The taking does not have to be intended to be permanent. In the context of shoplifting, it is not necessary that the alleged shoplifter even leave store premises. Sufficient evidence of the intent to steal has been held sufficient by Washington Courts.
If the prosecutor can prove a series or pattern of thefts, those dollar values can be aggregated to enhance the punishment level, moving a misdemeanor to a felony.
Theft in general can be committed three ways: taking or exerting unauthorized control over property, using deception to obtain property, and keeping lost or misdelivered property.
Theft convictions, even for gross misdemeanors, can have significant downstream effects for those charged. These include inability to obtain security clearances and inability to obtain many types of jobs.
Third Degree Theft (often Shoplifting)
Theft of property or services with a value of less than $750 is Theft in the Third Degree, or Third Degree Theft, and is a gross misdemeanor. It is not necessary that the item or items being taken have an actual value. In theory, the item could have zero value. Most thefts are charged as Theft in the Third Degree as a result of a shoplifting allegation. As a gross misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5000 fine.
Second Degree Theft
Theft in the Second Degree, or Second Degree Theft, is punishable as a Class C Felony if the allegation is proven. Second Degree Theft includes theft of property valued between $750 and $1500, public writing and records, commercial metal property less than $5000 and theft of access devices. It is punishable by up to five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.
First Degree Theft
Theft in the First Degree, or First Degree Theft, is punishable as a Class B Felony if the allegation is proven. First Degree Theft includes theft of property valued greater than $1500, theft of a search and rescue dog, commercial metal property greater than $5000 and theft of any item taken from the person of another (very similar to robbery). It is punishable by up to 10 years in jail and/or a $20,000 fine.
First Degree Theft (RCW 9A.56.030 – Class B Felony) is the commission of theft of:
- a) Property or services valued at greater than $5000 (which is not a vehicle or firearm); or
- b) Property of any value taken from the person of another (again not a vehicle or firearm) or
- a. Note this is very close to Robbery
- c) A search and rescue dog, while that dog is on duty
Second Degree Theft (RCW 9A.56.040 – Class C Felony) is the commission of theft of:
- a) Property or services valued more than $750 but not more than $5000 (which is not a vehicle or firearm); or
- b) A public record, writing, or instrument kept, filed, or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public office or public servant; or
- c) An access device (any card, plate, code, account number, or other means of account access that can be used alone or in conjunction with another access device to obtain money, goods, services, or anything else of value, or that can be used to initiate a transfer of funds, other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument)
Third Degree Theft (RCW 9A.56.050 – Gross Misdemeanor) is the theft of property or services which:
- a) Does not exceed $750 (including items of zero value); or
- b) Includes ten or more merchandise pallets, or ten or more beverage crates, or a combination of ten or more merchandise pallets and beverage crates
Third Degree Theft is typically a shoplifting charge.
Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients charged with Theft and Shoplifting offenses throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.