Washington Property Crimes – What to Know
From theft and burglary to fraud and vandalism, Washington’s Revised Code (RCW) outlines several property crimes with varying degrees of severity. Convictions will likely result in severe penalties and collateral consequences that may impact your entire life.
If you or a loved one are arrested for a property offense, whether at the misdemeanor or felony level, it is essential to be informed and take the matter seriously with qualified legal representation.
Seattle Property Crimes – Penalties & Consequences
The Seattle property crime rate has been climbing, so Washington courts are cracking down on property-related offenses.
Here’s what you’re facing if charged with a property-related crime:
- Jail/Prison Time
- Fines & Restitution
- Lengthy Probation
- Court-Ordered Diversion Programs
- Lost or Limited Job Prospects
- Housing Issues
- Loss of Gun Rights
- Strained Relationships/Imposition of No Contact Orders
- Immigration Problems
- Reduced or Revoked Child Custody
- Travel Restrictions
- Social Stigma
- Imposition of mental health or alcohol/drug treatment
Dealing with Property Crime Charges
We know that criminal charges can intimidate and overwhelm you, especially if you’ve never been involved in the legal system. At Emerald City Law Group, our property crimes attorneys know how these charges are often based on mistakes or committed out of desperation. We’ll communicate openly with you and aggressively defend your interests.
When you’re arrested for an offense like theft, burglary, or trespassing, you’ll likely be booked into the local jail, photographed, fingerprinted, and processed. You might be released with a summons to appear in court depending on the circumstances. Sometimes, bail might be required.
Following your arrest, you must attend an arraignment in one of the superior or district courts, such as Seattle or Kent. Here, you’ll learn of the official charges and enter a plea.
After the arraignment, your attorney will review the police report, consult with you, commence negotiations with the prosecutor, and file any appropriate legal motions to address evidentiary deficiencies. If no resolution is reached, the case may proceed to trial.
How a Property Crimes Lawyer Helps You
Property crime charges should be treated seriously with care. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can build a strong defense. Emerald City Law Group will explain the law and ensure you understand your rights.
We will investigate your case and build a defense customized to the facts in your property crimes case.
Defending Against a Property Crime in Washington
Being charged with a property crime does not guarantee a conviction. Consulting with a proficient property crime attorney ensures all defensive avenues are pursued. While public defenders are adept lawyers, their large caseloads can sometimes limit the detailed attention they give to individual cases.
There are several defense strategies a property crime attorney can employ to challenge the charges or even seek a dismissal. Common defenses include disputing the circumstances of the alleged crime, challenging the evidence’s admissibility, questioning the validity of search and seizure procedures, and presenting alibis or other evidence that casts doubt on the defendant’s involvement.
Alternative Property Crime Punishments
While a property crime conviction might result in incarceration, a lawyer can significantly mitigate the consequences, even if convicted. Your attorney can argue for alternatives to traditional jail time, such as diversion programs.
For first-time property crime offenders, it’s not uncommon for jail time to be substituted with participation in these programs. This allows individuals to make reparations, attend educational sessions, and engage in community service. Completing a diversion program can often lead to reduced charges or even case dismissal, emphasizing rehabilitation over punishment.