Theft, from shoplifting to carjacking, is one of the most common criminal charges in Washington. If convicted, the nature and extent of punishment depends on many factors, especially the value of whatever has been stolen. Washington law divides theft into three degrees:
- Third degree – Goods/services worth less than $750 dollars
- Second degree – Goods/services worth $750-$5000
- First degree – Goods/services worth more than $5000
All charges can lead to fines and imprisonment, but the most serious theft charge (first degree) may entail many years in jail as well as five-figure fines. Applicable laws and punishments are different for the theft of certain items, like firearms or vehicles, and for related crimes such as robbery or extortion. Your defense attorney will advise you as to the laws and consequences in your particular case.
Whether or not your theft case goes to trial, it is advised that you do not represent yourself. First of all, it is important to have someone on your side with the legal expertise to determine if any evidence has been collected unlawfully, and to help ensure that proceedings are conducted in a fair manner that respects your rights. Secondly, with the representation of an experienced defense attorney, it may be possible to have charges reduced or even dropped. Call us today to arrange a consultation with Seattle Law Group’s leading criminal defense team.