Charged with Shoplifting? Call Emerald City Now
Many people view the crime of shoplifting as a relatively minor offense. However, it is a form of theft and can carry severe legal penalties and additional consequences that will affect your life far into your future.
We have the experience necessary to investigate your case and search for ways to have your charges and penalties reduced, or, when possible, removed. Rely on our Seattle shoplifting attorneys to build a strong defense and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
Call us today at 206-973-0407 to set up a free, no-obligation case review with one of our Seattle shoplifting lawyers.
Various Degrees of Shoplifting in Washington State
In any shoplifting case in Washington State, the value of the merchandise stolen determines the severity of the penalties imposed for the crime. Shoplifting falls under three general categories with associated penalties and consequences upon conviction. These charges, which require a vigorous defense from shoplifting lawyers, are as follows:
Third-Degree Theft – Gross Misdemeanor
- Value of stolen items is $750 or less
- Up to 364 days in jail
- Maximum fine of $5000
- Court-ordered restitution
Second-Degree Theft – Class C Felony
- Value of stolen items is $751 to $5,000
- Up to five years in prison
- Maximum fine of $10,000
- Court-ordered restitution
First-Degree Theft – Class B Felony
- Value of stolen items is greater than $5,000
- Up to 10 years in prison
- Maximum fine of $20,000
- Court ordered restitution
The term “value” refers to the stolen property’s fair market value at the time and approximate location of the alleged crime. Some prosecutors may try to combine several expensive stolen items together in order to meet the $750 value to create a felony charge. Experienced Seattle shoplifting lawyers are aware of these potential efforts by prosecutors.
A conviction for a shoplifting charge in Seattle can give you a criminal record that lasts for the rest of your life. With such a record, your ability to access educational and employment opportunities may be hindered. The skilled Seattle shoplifting lawyers from Emerald City Law Group can help if you find yourself in this dilemma.
What If You Did Not Leave the Store With the Items?
In certain cases, an individual with items in their possession may be stopped by security personnel before they have even left the store’s premises. This can occur when security stops someone suspected of shoplifting because the suspect hid merchandise either on their own person or in one or more bags they are carrying. Security will often not detain an individual until they have gone beyond the store register area where they should have paid for the product(s).
Other times, alleged shoplifters are detected by sensors in the store when they attempt to exit the facility. Additionally, stores often have videotape evidence available with suspected shoplifting incidents.
If you are facing charges of not paying for merchandise from any retailer, you need the kind of representation provided by intelligent and experienced shoplifting attorneys of Emerald City Law Group.
Elevated Charges Related to a Shoplifting Offense
If you are accused of shoplifting and also participate in a physical altercation with employees or store security, prosecutors may attempt to upgrade your charge to robbery. Likewise, a prosecutor may seek to elevate your charge to burglary if you have been previously warned to not enter that particular retail establishment. All of these charges must be taken extremely seriously and addressed through the advocacy offered by our experienced and adept Seattle shoplifting lawyers.
Shoplifting Laws in Washington State
The crime of retail theft is often connected to disruptions within the person’s life that are also affecting their day-to-day lives. For instance, with adolescents, shoplifting can be part of thrill-seeking. In some instances, however, it could be a result of peer pressure.
In some cases, an individual who commits a shoplifting offense may do so out of financial necessity. These actions are justifiable, but they are wrong under Washington state theft laws. However, the job of a skilled shoplifting attorney is to understand the underlying circumstances of the offense, if it has indeed occurred, and advocate skillfully to mitigate the potential penalties and consequences faced by the defendant.
At Emerald City Law Group, we don’t believe a momentary lapse in judgment should ruin your life, family relationships, or career. We are able to work with stores, where possible, to make arrangements for the dismissal of any charges under a civil compromise agreement.
Call Our Seattle Shoplifting Lawyers for Help Today
The penalties and collateral consequences of a retail theft conviction can be harsh in the State of Washington. These are issues that require the full attention of experienced shoplifting attorneys. If you have been charged with this crime, Emerald City Law Group will fight on your behalf for an outcome that minimizes or eliminates the potential consequences that accompany your charge.