Property Crimes

Persistent counsel by Olympia theft attorneys pays off

If you have been charged with theft, you need an attorney who understands how the criminal court systems works and is familiar with the prosecutors and district attorney. The attorneys at Budd Bay Law, P.S. have more than 150 years of combined experience in defending our clients’ rights. We use our thorough knowledge of all facets of the Washington State criminal justice system to secure the best possible outcome.

The criminal defense attorneys at Budd Bay Law, P.S. have maintained a dynamic practice in Olympia, WA for more than 36 years, defending clients in state and federal courts on charges ranging from minor offenses to serious felonies.

The degrees of theft in Washington State

Washington State law defines three levels of property crimes, each of which carries different penalties. Different laws exist for the theft of motor vehicles, livestock and firearms.

Theft, also known as larceny in other states, is the least serious.  There are three degrees of theft crimes, depending on the value of the stolen item and other factors. First Degree Theft is the most serious. When property or services valued at over $5,000 are stolen, or property of any value is taken from another’s person, it is considered a Class B felony. The maximum penalty is 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine. Shoplifting is considered theft in Washington State.

Burglary is the unlawful entry into a building, including home invasion, with the intent to commit a felony. Depending if the accused was armed or assaulted another person, it can be either a Class A or B felony with a maximum penalty of up to life in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Robbery — the taking of property from a person with force — is considered First Degree Robbery and a Class A felony when it involves a deadly weapon, the infliction of body injury or is committed against a financial institution. The maximum penalty is up to life in prison and fines reaching $50,000.

Property crimes charges can also include criminal trespass, the knowing entering or unlawful remaining in a building.

Malicious mischief

Damaging someone else’s property in Washington State is called malicious mischief. There are four different degrees depending on the amount of damage.  First degree malicious mischief, the most serious offense, is a Class B felony carrying a maximum sentence of two to six months in jail for causing any of the following:

  • Physical damage of over $1,500 to someone else’s property
  • Interruption of service to the public by tampering with an emergency vehicle or property of the state, or public utilities, transportation, power, or communication
  • Impairing the safety, operations, or efficiency of an aircraft by tampering with the aircraft or equipment

If the value of the damage is less than $50 it is considered misdemeanor maliciousness which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines of no more than $1,000. If the mischief involves vandalism (or graffiti) that does less than $250 in damage, it is a gross misdemeanor with a potential sentence of 90 days to one year in jail with fines up to $5,000.

Contact the attorneys who will make a difference in your case

If you are accused of theft in Washington State, resolutions can vary widely. For the best outcome for your case, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Budd Bay Law, P.S. We have successfully defended all types of theft crime for decades. Call our Olympia, WA offices today or contact us online.

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