Theft is the taking of someone’s property, with the intent to deprive them of that property. Theft is different from Burglary (taking after entering/remaining unlawfully in a building) or Robbery (taking from a person) because: (1) a person doesn’t need to break in anywhere to commit theft; and, (2) the taking is not from the person of the owner.
The degrees of theft are defined by the value of the property taken.
First Degree Theft means taking property worth more than $5000.00. Theft 1 is a Class B felony under Washington State law. A typical sentence for a person with no felony history convicted of Theft 1 would face a standard range sentence of 0-90 days, excluding any applicable sentence enhancements.
Second Degree Theft, a Class C felony, means taking property valued at $750.00 – $5000.00. A typical sentence for a person with no felony history convicted of Theft 2 would face a sentence of 0-60 days. Again, sentence enhancements could increase this range.
Third degree theft, a gross misdemeanor, means the property is worth less than $750.00.
Aside from jail or prison time, people convicted of theft face a stigma that can follow them for life. This is because theft is a “crime of dishonesty.” In a world of online background checks, this can mean loss of a job or inability to find a job. For this reason, theft convictions – in all three degrees – are among the convictions many people are interested in vacating to clear their records.
If you are facing a theft charge, or think you might be at risk, you should contact an experienced theft attorney immediately to explore your options.