Washington theft laws encompass a wide variety of crimes including shoplifting, armed robbery, armed robbery, fraud, embezzlement, and unlawful possession of property. It’s important to understand the differences between varying levels of theft charges, when attempting to determine the severity of your Washington theft case.

How is Washington State Theft Defined?

“Theft” in Washington State means to wrongfully obtain or control unauthorized property or services. This also involves an act with intent to deprive another of such a property or service.

Burglary or robbery often fall within these parameters, but distinctly involve breaking, entering, the use of a weapon, or other acts of violence.

Much like burglary and robbery charges tend to be based on the severity of violence involved in the crime, states tend to define theft by the financial value of the property or service. Washington state theft laws are categorized within these same guidelines.

Third Degree Theft

Theft of a property or service that’s value does not exceed $750 or includes 10 or more merchandise and beverage crates.

Result: Theft in the 3rd degree is a gross misdemeanor.

Second Degree Theft

Theft of a property or service that’s value exceeds the felony threshold for Washington State that is $750, but is still less than $5000. 

Result: Theft in the 2nd degree is a class C felony.

First Degree Theft

Theft of a property or service that’s value exceeds $5000.
Result: Theft in the 1st degree is a class B felony.

Washington State Firearm Theft

Defined as a person who committed a theft of any firearm. Regardless of the financial value of the stolen firearm, Washington firearm theft is always a class B felony. To add to the severity of firearm theft, each individual firearm stolen is its own separate class B felony. 

Any form of possession, including delivering or selling, falls under the umbrella of possession of a stolen firearm. Therefore, these same penalties will apply regardless of the situation, or if the individual possessing the stolen firearm committed felony theft themselves.

Juvenile Theft

For those under the age of 18, the punishment guidelines differ from that of adults. The difference being that juvenile courts operate using trial by judge and jury. This means that, if found guilty, judges have the authority to decide the severity of the punishment and if the crime is worth trying a minor as an adult.

As a Class D offense, something like 3rd degree theft isn’t even affected by a juvenile’s prior adjudications. Otherwise, Class C and Class B offenses like first and second degree theft can result in 15 to 65 weeks in a juvenile detention center.