Seattle Shoplifting Attorney

Shoplifting and Theft

Shoplifting falls under the category of "theft." In fact, it is the most common theft crime committed in Seattle. RCW 9A.56.020 defines "theft" as any of the following:

  • (1) To wrongfully obtain or exercise unauthorized control over another person's property or services, or the value of such property or services, with the intent to deprive him of such property or services; or
  • (2) To obtain, through deception, control over another person's property or services, or the value of such property or services, with the intent to deprive him of such property or services; or
  • (3) To take another person's lost or misdelivered property or services, or the value of such property or services, with the intent to deprive him of such property or services.

One main defense to any charge of theft is that the property or service was taken or used openly under a good faith claim of ownership.

There are three basic categories of shoplifting or theft: theft in the first degree, theft in the second degree, and theft in the third degree.

Theft in the First Degree:

According to RCW 9A.56.030, a person may be charged with theft in the first degree if he commits theft of:

  • (1) Property or services which exceed(s) f$5,000 in value (other than a firearm); or
  • (2) Property of any value (other than a firearm or motor vehicle) taken from another person; or
  • (3) A search and rescue dog while the dog is on duty; or
  • (4) Commercial metal property, nonferrous metal property, or private metal property, and the costs of the damage to the owner's property exceed $5,000 in value.

Theft in the first degree is considered a class B felony, which means it is punishable by up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $20,000, or both.

Theft in the Second Degree:

According to RCW 9A.56.040, a person may be charged with theft in the second degree if he commits theft of:

  • (1) Property or services which exceed(s) $750 in value but does not exceed $5,000 in value (other than a firearm or a motor vehicle);
  • (2) A public record, writing, or instrument kept, filed, or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public office or public servant;
  • (3) Commercial metal property, nonferrous metal property, or private metal property, and the costs of the damage to the owner's property exceed $750 but does not exceed $5,000 in value; or
  • (4) An access device.

Theft in the second degree is considered a class C felony, which means it is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both.

Theft in the Third Degree:

According to RCW 9A.56.050, a person may be charged with theft in the third degree if he commits theft of property or services which:

  • (1) Does not exceed $750 in value, or
  • (2) Includes ten or more merchandise pallets, or ten or more beverage crates, or a combination of ten or more merchandise pallets and beverage crates.

Theft in the third degree is considered a gross misdemeanor, which means it is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.

Office Locations

Seattle
2033 Sixth Avenue,
Suite 350
Seattle, WA 98121

Seattle
1700 Seventh Avenue,
Suite 2100
Seattle, WA 98101

Office Locations

Bothell
19125 North Creek Parkway,
Suite 120
Bothell, WA 98011

Office Locations

Bellevue
10900 NE 8th Street,
Suite 1000
Bellevue, WA 98004

Bellevue
14205 S.E. 36th St.,
Suite 100
Bellevue, WA 98006