MISDEMEANOR VS FELONY PETTY THEFT

MISDEMEANOR VS FELONY PETTY THEFT UNDER WASHINGTON LAW

Theft offenses are those that involve the stealing or possession of property that belongs to someone else.

The theft of property worth $750 or less is a gross misdemeanor under state law.

If the property is worth between $750 and $5,000, or if it is an access device (credit card, ATM card, etc.), the crime is theft in the second degree, which is a Class C felony.

 PENALTIES FOR MISDEMEANOR AND FELONY PETTY THEFT

Misdemeanor theft is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.

If a defendant is charged with a Class C felony, the crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Note that if theft involves the taking of property worth more than $5,000, or the taking of property directly from a person, the crime becomes theft in the first degree, which is a Class B felony. This means that the person charged may face as much as 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.

DEFENSES FOR THEFT

Fortunately, a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a theft charge. One common defense is for an accused to show that he or she did not act with an intent to permanently deprive the “victim” of the property. Perhaps, for example, the defendant merely borrowed someone’s property with the intent to give it back.

A defendant can also raise a claim of right defense. This is where the accused shows that he or had an honest and reasonable belief that the property in question actually belonged to him or her. The defense applies even if this belief was incorrect.

People also get falsely accused of theft, which means a defendant can assert that he or she was unjustly blamed. Oftentimes, a business deal gone sour can lead to false accusations of theft. Further, an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend (or spouse) may falsely accuse a former partner out of revenge or jealousy.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

If you or a loved one is facing a theft charge, our firm is here to help. Our theft attorneys have over 25 years of combined experience representing clients on theft charges. They are tireless in their efforts and fight for their clients every step of the way. Contact them now to get the representation that makes all the difference.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

We serve clients throughout Washington including those in the following localities: King County including Bellevue, Kent, and Seattle; Benton County including Kennewick; Chelan County including Wenatchee; Clallam County including Port Angeles; Grays Harbor County including Aberdeen; Kitsap County including Port Orchard; Kittitas County including Ellensburg; Pierce County including Tacoma; Skagit County including Mount Vernon; Snohomish County including Everett; Spokane County including Spokane; Thurston County including Olympia; Whatcom County including Bellingham; and Yakima County including Yakima.