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Even relatively minor theft charges like shoplifting a small item can have serious long-term consequences beyond jail time and fines.  Because theft related crimes are considered crimes of dishonesty and potentially crimes of moral turpitude they can negatively impact employment, school admissions, professional licenses, and immigration status.

Washington theft charges are divided into three levels of seriousness, depending on the value of items stolen.  While people often use the term “shoplifting” to describe the theft of items from a store Washington law does not have a specific crime called shoplifting.  Generally, shoplifting incidents are charged as theft in the third degree.

  • Theft in the First Degree (RCW 9A.56.030): Theft of property or services with a value over $5,000 or the theft of property when taken from the person of another. Theft 1st degree is a class B felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in jail and a $20,000.00 fine.* 
  • Theft in the Second Degree (RCW 9A.56.040): The theft of property or services with a value over $750 but less than $5,000.00 or the theft of an access device (a card, code, or other means of account access).  Theft 2nd degree is a class C felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in jail and a $10,000.00 fine.
  • Theft in the Third Degree (RCW 9A.56.050 or similar city ordinance): The theft of property or services with a value less than $750. Theft third degree is a gross misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. 

* Actual penalties for a felony conviction are governed by the Sentencing Reform Act, RCW 9.94A, and the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines.

Other crimes related to theft include:

  • Fraud
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Possession of stolen property
  • Possession of stolen firearm

If you are facing a theft or theft related crime in Walla Walla or Southeastern Washington State, please contact me to discuss your case and options. 

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