Arrested for Embezzlement? Emerald City Can Help

An accounting mistake could lead to embezzlement allegations, but you still have options. A dedicated defense lawyer can help. Emerald City Law Group will listen to what happened and work diligently to protect your rights, reputation, and record. We will work to keep you free and aggressively pursue the best outcome possible.

From seeking alternative penalties to proving your innocence in an embezzlement case, Emerald City Law Group is ready.

Based in Seattle, We Assist People Across Washington and Offer Virtual Consultations. Initial Consults are Free, Confidential, and We’re Available 24/7 to Answer Your Questions.

Washington Embezzlement Charges

Embezzlement is a property crime in Washington that can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of money in question. However, the penalties can vary depending on the aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

Embezzlement: What You Need to Know

Being charged with embezzlement is an absolute nightmare. You must take it seriously and work with a knowledgeable embezzlement attorney because stealing from your employer or misappropriating funds can drastically hurt your future.

What Is Embezzlement in Washington?

Embezzlement occurs when someone steals or takes control of property or money through a position of trust and the access it provides.

The most common example is an employee stealing a business’s money. The employee had access to the funds due to their work duties. Embezzlement often makes the news when employees make off with hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars from their employers.  However, embezzlement occurs on smaller scales as well. For example, using a company credit card to pay for personal expenses could lead to embezzlement allegations and criminal charges.

Also, embezzlement is not just performed by employees. Anyone with lawful possession or access to another person, business, or government entity’s funds or property and misappropriates some of those funds or property is guilty of embezzlement.

Washington Embezzlement Laws

Washington does not have one specific criminal embezzlement statute. Instead, embezzlement in Washington is charged as a theft crime:

  • Theft in the First Degree (RCW 9A.56.030): Theft of more than $5,000, a firearm or vehicle of any value, a search and rescue dog on duty, or commercial or private metal property causing property damage of more than $5,000 is a Class B felony.
  • Theft in the Second Degree (RCW 9A.56.040): Theft valued between $750 and $5,000 of a public record kept by a public office, of commercial or private metal property, causing property damage worth between $750 and $5,000, or of any access device is a Class C felony.
  • Theft in the Third Degree (RCW 9A.56.050): Theft of property worth up to $750 or of 10 or more merchandise pallets, 10 or more beverage crates, or a combination of the two is a gross misdemeanor.

If you are accused of unlawfully appropriating another person’s or business’s money or property, call our embezzlement defense attorneys at Emerald City Law Group. You may face a gross misdemeanor if you are charged with stealing a small amount of money or property.  A conviction for any theft charge, though, is a crime of dishonesty and can close doors on future employment and other opportunities. If you are accused of embezzling a large amount of money or property, you may face a felony, resulting in years in prison. You need a skilled embezzlement lawyer to fight for a dismissal, acquittal, amendment to a lesser charge, or strive to mitigate the consequences of a conviction.

Potential Penalties for Embezzlement

The possible prison sentence for embezzlement depends on numerous factors, including the offense’s class, the crime’s seriousness level, and your offender score, which is based on your current charge and criminal history.

Maximum Penalties for Embezzlement

For every class of crime, there is a maximum penalty you can face under Washington law:

  • Class B felony: A maximum of 10 years in prison and fines up to $50,000.
  • Class C felony: A maximum of 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
  • Gross Misdemeanor: A maximum of 364 days in jail and  fines up to $5,000.

Minimum Penalties for Embezzlement

Depending on your circumstances, you may not realistically face the maximum penalty. Washington’s Sentencing Guidelines, which consider the seriousness level of the offense and your offender score, may allow for a shorter term of imprisonment than the maximum penalty.

Embezzlement in the First Degree, excluding theft of a firearm or vehicle, has a seriousness level of II. Depending on your offender score, which is between 0 and 9+, you may be sentenced to jail or prison for 0-90 days, 2-6 months, 3-9 months, 4-12 months, 12-14 months, 14-18 months, 17-22 months, 22-29 months, 33-43 months, or 43-57 months.

Embezzlement in the Second Degree, excluding theft of a firearm or vehicle, has a seriousness level of I, the lowest level. Depending on your offender score, you may be sentenced to jail or prison for 0-60 days, 0-90 days, 2-5 months, 3-8 months, 4-12 months, 12-14 months, 14-18 months, 17-22 months, or 22-29 months.

Embezzlement – Additional Consequences

Your embezzlement sentence may involve more than incarceration and fines. You could be required to pay restitution to the victims. You may have to perform community service and adhere to numerous conditions of probation. When you work with an embezzlement attorney with Emerald City Law Group, we will consider all these factors when attempting to mitigate the consequences of a potential conviction.

Embezzlement Can Be a Federal Crime

Embezzlement can be charged as a federal crime under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 31, especially if it involves stealing from a federal agency, misappropriating government contract funds, or bank employees committing theft. Punishments vary based on the embezzlement type and value, ranging from one year in jail to 10 years in prison, with fines reaching up to $250,000.

In order to practice in Federal Court, an attorney must be federally licensed.  Not all Washington lawyers have a federal license to practice in Federal Court.  The attorneys at Emerald City Law Group are federally licensed and have significant federal experience.

Navigating King County Embezzlement Charges

If you are arrested for embezzlement in King County, you’ll be booked at the local jail, photographed, fingerprinted, and processed. Your first court appearance will be an arraignment in a superior or district court, such as Seattle or Kent. The judge will read your official charges and set bail. You will also enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at your arraignment.

Your embezzlement lawyer will investigate your case, review evidence, and file legal motions to get your case dismissed or amended down to a lesser offense. Your attorney will also negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce your charges and penalties. Ultimately, you may elect to proceed to trial, but you will have a strong defense team when you work with Emerald City Law Group.

Defending Against Embezzlement in Washington

Many defenses can be used to fight embezzlement charges. Some of the most common defenses include lack of intent, authorization, duress, and mistake of fact. Your embezzlement lawyer’s exact defense strategy will depend on your case’s facts.

Washington Embezzlement Info & Resources

Our embezzlement attorneys in Seattle are here to help you handle theft charges and protect your rights. We have answers to your legal questions. If you can’t reach out to us right away, you can have a friend or family member contact Emerald City Law Group on your behalf.

What’s the Difference Between Embezzlement & Fraud?

Both involve deceit for personal gain, but while embezzlement concerns misusing funds or property already in one’s lawful possession, fraud consists of obtaining money or property through deception.

Will I Go to Prison for Embezzlement?

Your penalties depend on the severity of your offense and other aggravating and mitigating factors. If you’re charged with stealing a smaller amount of money, you may be able to get out of being incarcerated by offering to repay the victims and other alternative penalties. However, the more money you’re accused of stealing, the more likely the prosecution will  pursue a prison sentence.

Can You Make Restitution in Embezzlement Cases?

If convicted, the court may order the offender to pay restitution, which means repaying the amount embezzled to the victim or entity.

Don’t Wait. Call a Seattle Embezzlement Lawyer

Emerald City Law Group is ready to begin working on your case as soon as you call us. We understand you’re facing a serious charge that can result in significant penalties and the end of your career. Our embezzlement attorney will help you get the best outcome possible.

Emerald City Law Group Will:

  • Help you understand Washington embezzlement laws and potential penalties.
  • Conduct a thorough investigation and evaluate evidence in the case.
  • Make every effort to get your case dismissed.
  • Advise you of your rights and how to interact with law enforcement.
  • Negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor and help you understand the terms.
  • Explain the sentencing process and options that are available to you.

DUI Defense Attorneys Serving Washington – Free Consultations 24/7

Emerald City Law Group provides Seattle and the greater Washington area with high-caliber legal representation for those facing embezzlement-related accusations.

Seattle – Local Areas Served

  • King County – Bellevue, Auburn, Kent, Renton, Federal Way, Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, Carnation, Duvall, Issaquah, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Sammamish, Seattle, & Woodinville
  • Snohomish County – Everett, Lynnwood, and Marysville.
  • Pierce County – Tacoma, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, and Lakewood
    • Greater Washington

      • Grays Harbor
      • Kittitas County
      • Spokane County
      • Cowlitz County
      • Douglas County
      • Mason County
      • Skagit County
      • Thurston County
      • Island County
      • Mason County
      • Grays County
      • Kitsap County
      • Lewis County
      • Whatcom County
      • Whitman County
      • San Juan County