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Port Orchard Theft Crime Lawyer

Few accusations can tarnish your reputation as quickly as being called a thief. Theft crimes are considered to be indicative of a dishonest character. Therefore, along with fraud, theft crimes are given careful consideration when they come up in a background check. This can affect your future income or the ability to find a place to live, among other things.

If you’ve been arrested for a theft related crime, you are probably bewildered and worried. Make no mistake, if you’re convicted of a theft crime in Washington State, you could be facing lengthy prison time and the total upending of your life. Right now, you need to contact a qualified Washington State theft lawyer and make sure your legal rights are protected. Meanwhile, do not to anyone in law enforcement because anything you say may very well affect the outcome of your case.

Understanding Theft Crimes in Washington

Washington State Statute RCW 9A.56.020 lays out three specific definitions for the crime of theft

“(a) To wrongfully obtain or exert unauthorized control over the property or services of another or the value thereof, with intent to deprive him or her of such property or services; or
(b) By color or aid of deception to obtain control over the property or services of another or the value thereof, with intent to deprive him or her of such property or services; or
(c) To appropriate lost or misdelivered property or services of another, or the value thereof, with intent to deprive him or her of such property or services.”

At their core, theft crimes involve the illegal taking of another person's property with the intent of keeping that property away from its owner permanently. Because the manner in which the property is taken is unimportant, there are various categories of theft that include theft by taking, theft by deception, and theft by receiving stolen property.

Theft by taking is simply the taking of another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of said property. If most people were asked to define the word “theft,” this would be the most answered definition.

Theft by deception is the theft of another person’s property by use of deceitful means to deprive the person of the stolen property. A common example of theft by deception is eating at a restaurant and then leaving without paying for your meal. This is also commonly known as “dine and dashing,” and is a criminal offense.

Theft by receiving stolen property occurs when a person receives property that he either knew or should have known was stolen property. This category of theft has its own charges under Washington State Statute- Possessing Stolen Property in the 1st Degree and Possessing Stolen Property in the 2nd Degree, and Possessing Stolen Property in the 3rd Degree.

Theft is a broad term that covers several very specific crimes. The lawyer you choose will have a critical effect on the outcome of your case. Some of the specific theft charges that our team of knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys has handled include-

Theft in the 1st Degree- This charge is applied when the stolen property or cash is valued at or above $5,000, or the theft includes a firearm or motor vehicle.

Theft in the 2nd Degree- This charge is applied when the stolen property or cash is valued from $750 to $5,000, or when the stolen item is an account access device like a key-card or access code.

Theft in the 3rd Degree- This charge is applied when the stolen property or cash is valued below $750. Most shoplifting crimes, also known as retail theft, are charged as Theft in the 3rd degree.

Possession of Stolen Property in the 1st Degree- This charge is applied when the accused holds stolen property or goods that exceed $5000 in value

Possession of Stolen Property in the 2nd Degree- This charge is applied when the accused holds stolen property or goods that value between $750-$5000, public records, or access devices.

Possession of Stolen Property in the 3rd Degree- This charge is applied when the accused holds stolen property or goods worth less than $750

The above list isn’t all-inclusive, and we handle many other Kitsap County criminal law matters for our Port Orchard clients. For a full list of criminal law matters we handle, or if you have questions pertaining to the specifics of your case, please contact our team of Washington state criminal law attorneys as soon as possible.

What Will Happen if You Are Convicted of Theft in Port Orchard?

A conviction of a theft crime can lead to a variety of penalties, including jail or prison time, required restitution, and even more lasting long-term consequences. Being convicted of an offense of this nature leaves a mark on your permanent criminal record, which can damage your reputation.

The potential penalties you face for theft in Washington depend upon the level of the charge against you.

  • First-degree theft is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $50,000.
  • Second-degree theft is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000.
  • Third-degree theft is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine up to $5,000.

Felony trials are adjudicated at the Kitsap County Superior Court, while misdemeanor offenses are usually adjudicated at either the Kitsap County District Court or the Port Orchard Municipal Court.

Ultimately, the severity of the penalties is up to the trial judge and they will consider a range of factors when making a decision. For example, a defendant's criminal history could affect the severity of punishment. Due to the harsh potential penalties and collateral consequences of a theft conviction, it is essential you hire an aggressive Port Orchard theft attorney as soon as possible.

Are Theft, Robbery, and Burglary All the Same Charge in Kitsap County?

Theft, burglary, and robbery are three terms that are often used interchangeably, but under Washington state law, they are three distinct types of crimes.

To simplify, theft is defined as taking someone else’s property (that does not belong to you) with the intent of keeping that property. An example of theft would be: Billy arrives at a party and leaves his cellphone in a bowl with everybody else’s phone. Jimmy arrives at the party and does the same. When it’s time to leave, Jimmy decides to take Billy’s cell phone instead of his own because Billy’s is nicer. Jimmy has committed the crime of theft.

The definition of burglary is more focused on entering and remaining on a person or business’s property unlawfully with the intent to commit a crime. An example of burglary would be: Billy enters Jimmy’s apartment while Jimmy is at work. Jimmy doesn’t know Billy is doing this and did NOT invite Billy into his home. Jimmy’s security system alerts the police, who arrive at the apartment to find Billy. Billy has committed the crime of burglary.

The law defines robbery as the taking of personal property from someone’s person unlawfully or using violence, force, or the threat of violence to take the property. An example of a robbery would be: Billy and Susan are walking down the street after an evening out. Jimmy steps out of a dark alley and demands that Billy and Susan give him their cell phones and wallets. He tells them if they don’t comply, he will shoot them. Jimmy is guilty of robbery.

Robbery is very similar to theft, however, the noticeable difference is the use of violence or force to take the property. Because the use or threat of harm is included in a robbery charge, it carries more severe penalties than most theft charges.

If you or a loved one is facing theft, burglary, or robbery charges in Kitsap county, it is imperative that you speak to a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately. The consequences of these charges can be devastating. Allow our team of Port Orchard theft attorneys to help you navigate through this trying time in your life.

How Can a Port Orchard Theft Lawyer Help You?

Theft crimes have existed in every society throughout all of human history. While theft has been around forever, the way theft crimes occur changes with the times. Theft laws in Washington state are constantly being refined and redefined to keep up with the new opportunities for theft. This ever-changing system can be confusing and frustrating. A knowledgeable Kitsap County theft attorney is a helpful resource that can help guide you through the complex legal battle you now face.

Theft crimes involve many different circumstances. You may not have considered what you were doing as taking something that did not belong to you. You may even be innocent of the crime, as there are many situations where false accusations are made because of the bad motives of the accuser or an incorrect interpretation of the evidence. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help convince a judge or jury that you did not have the intent to deprive someone of their property.

Hiring an experienced Port Orchard theft lawyer offers the best opportunity to minimize the impact of the theft charge. Whether you are charged with something deemed relatively small like shoplifting, or something more serious like armed robbery, an attorney can help. Contact our Kitsap County criminal defense attorneys today to arrange your no-cost case evaluation.

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