Washington’s organized retail theft law makes it a crime for you to steal property from an establishment and do so while working with another person. The crime is a serious felony offense that can result in 10 years in state prison. Please contact a criminal defense attorney now if you are facing charges of a Washington criminal offense.
What is the Crime of Organized Retail Theft?
RCW 9A.56.350 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of organized retail theft. You commit this offense if:
- You steal property, or possess stolen property, from an establishment, and
- Do so with an accomplice.
Note that the value of the stolen property must be at least $750 for a prosecutor to charge this crime. In cases of multiple thefts, a prosecutor can charge the offense if the total value of all property is at least $750.
Washington law has two different degrees of organized retail theft. These are:
- Organized retail theft in the first degree, and
- Organized retail theft in the second degree.
A prosecutor usually charges organized retail theft in the first degree if the value of the property involved is $5,000 or more.
A prosecutor usually charges organized retail theft in the second degree if the value of the property involved is between $750 and $5,000.
What are the penalties?
Organized retail theft in the first degree is a Class B felony. The crime is punishable by:
- Custody in state prison for up to 10 years, and/or
- A fine of $20,000.
Organized retail theft in the second degree is a Class C felony. The crime is punishable by:
- Custody in state prison for up to 5 years, and/or
- A fine of $10,000.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. You can challenge an organized retail theft charge with a legal defense. A few common defenses include showing that you did not act with an accomplice or that the value of the property stolen was below $750. Note, though, that you could still face simple theft charges in these instances.
Defendants can also contest an organized theft charge by showing that the police violated one of their constitutional rights. For example, maybe the police:
- Arrested an offender without probable cause, or
- Coerced a confession.
In both of these instances, a prosecutor may decide to reduce your charge or drop it altogether.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a theft charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced theft attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on theft-related charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. 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!