Washington law makes it a crime for you to make or possess motor vehicle theft tools, like slim jims or lock pullers. The crime can lead to gross misdemeanor charges punishable by up to a year in jail. If you are facing any type of vehicle theft charge in Washington, please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now for help.

What are Motor Vehicle Theft Tool Crimes in WA?

RCW 9A.56.063 is the Washington statute that sets forth the state’s criminal laws on motor vehicle theft tools. Under this code section, you are generally guilty of a crime if you:

  1. Make, use, or possess a “motor vehicle theft tool,” and
  2. Do so under circumstances showing either an intent to use or employ them in a motor vehicle theft, or knowledge that they will be used or employed in the commission of a motor vehicle theft.

A “motor vehicle theft tool” can include an object like a:

  • Slim jim,
  • False master key,
  • Master purpose key,
  • Altered or shaved key,
  • Trial or jiggler key,
  • Slide hammer,
  • Lock puller,
  • Picklock, or
  • Any other object that shows an intent to commit a motor vehicle theft.

What Are the Penalties?

Making or possessing a motor vehicle theft tool in Washington is usually charged as a gross misdemeanor. A conviction of the crime can result in:

  • Custody in jail for up to one year, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $5,000.

Keep in mind that if you use vehicle theft tools to actually steal a car, you will also face criminal charges of motor vehicle theft. A conviction of this offense is punishable by:

  • A maximum of 10 years in prison, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $20,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. People charged with an offense under RCW 9A.56.063 can contest the charge with a legal defense. A common defense is for a defendant to show that the tool he/she made or possessed was not, or could not be used as, a motor vehicle theft tool.

An accused can also admit to having a motor vehicle theft tool. But the accused could contest a charge by showing that he/she did not have either:

  • An intent to use the tool in a motor vehicle theft, or
  • The knowledge that the tool would be used in the commission of a motor vehicle theft.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a motor vehicle theft tool charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on motor vehicle theft charges. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!