Theft is the wrongful assumption or possession of another person’s property. The theft is often done by taking and carrying away the property with the intent to permanently deprive the individual of their property. In Washington State, one type of theft is called shoplifting.

How Does Washington State Define Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is defined as stealing goods from a retailer.

Does It Matter The Value of the Goods in a Shoplifting Charge?

Yes. The State bases the severity of the shoplifting charge on the value of the goods stolen.

Is Shoplifting the Same as Robbery?

No. Robbery involves taking property from another person or retailer, but with the use of force, threat of force, or violence. Whereas shoplifting only involves taking property, or goods, from a retailer without force.

Is Shoplifting a Felony or Misdemeanor in Washington State?

In Washington state, a shoplifting charge is typically a misdemeanor charge. It can be a simple misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor. But the severity of the charge depends on the value of the item that was shoplifted.

Can Shoplifting Ever Be a Felony Charge?

Yes. The state can charge a defendant with felony shoplifting if the defendant shoplifted an item valued more than $5,000.

What is the Punishment for Shoplifting in Washington State?

The specific criminal sentence depends on facts surrounding the shoplifting. For example, third degree misdemeanor shoplifting is punishable by up to a year in county jail and/or a fine of $5,000. Third degree shoplifting conviction is when a defendant shoplifted goods valued at less than $750.

A second degree shoplifting conviction is a punishment for stealing goods valued at more than $750, but less than $5,000. It’s a class C felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

First degree shoplifting is considered a class B felony and is when the defendant shoplifted an item valued at over $5,000. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $20,000.

Should I Discuss My Case with a Criminal Lawyer?

Yes. A shoplifting charge has serious consequences. To discover the best defense to use in your case, talk to a washington criminal lawyer.