If you have been accused of theft in Washington State, a variety of things will be considered when your case is reviewed by a lawyer or the courts, particularly the value of what you may have stolen. The type of punishment you are given by the court, if you are convicted of theft, also will depend on how serious the theft is. Ultimately, the value of the stolen item or service determines the consequence for theft.
Degrees of theft in Washington State
As is the case in many states, theft in Washington State is separated into three different categories, called degrees. Each degree is determined by the value of the stolen item or service:
Each degree has an associated maximimum sentence and/or fine.
Maximum sentences for Washington State theft
Each degree of theft is also considered a particular type of crime, such as a misdemeanor or a felony, by the courts. The maximum sentence for each degree of theft depends on the type of crime.
Keep in mind that these are the maximum sentences. If you are accused of any of these crimes but have little or no criminal history, it's unlikely that you will receive the maximum sentence.
It's also important to know that different laws apply for theft of motor vehicles, livestock, and firearms. In addition, crimes considered robbery, possession of stolen property, and/or extortion (getting money or valuable goods by abusing your position of authority, or through intimidation) are charged under different laws.
If you are accused of theft in Washington State
If you are accused of theft in Washington State, it's advisable to contact an attorney in order to understand your options. Resolutions vary widely and include, but are not limited to, the following:
The last three options are often reserved for people with little or no criminal history.
Washington State Legislature: Classification and Designation of Crimes (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.20.010)
Washington Courts: Washington State Court Rules on Appeal (http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/index.cfm)
Washington State Legislature: Compromise of Misdemeanors (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=10.22)
Related Legal Guides:
Malicious Mischief in Washington State
Possession of Stolen Property in Washington State
Expungement in Washington State
Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer (https://www.cultivalaw.com)