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AttyCBradford
AttyCBradford, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 643
Experience:  Criminal Defense and Family law Attorney serving California statewide
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my wife accidentaly walked out of a store with a couple item

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my wife accidentaly walked out of a store with a couple item on her arm. the store told her she would be a letter in the mail with a court date. she is quite scared about possible outcomes. she had never had any troble with the law and is wonder what might happen and what she should do.

AttyCBradford :

Hello. I would be glad to assist you with this matter. The type of punishment your wife is given by the court, if you are convicted of theft, also will depend on how serious the theft is. It will matter how much of value the items were that she took. Basically, the value of the stolen item or service determines the consequence for theft.


Degrees of theft in Washington State


Theft in Washington State is separated into three different categories, called degrees. Each degree is determined by the value of the stolen item or service:



  • Third-degree theft. The item or service is worth less than $750.

  • Second-degree theft. The item or service is worth more than $750 but less than $5,000.

  • First-degree theft. The item or service is worth more than $5,000.


Each degree has an associated maximimum sentence and/or fine.


Maximum sentences for Washington State theft


Each degree of theft is also considered a particular type of crime, such as a misdemeanor or a felony, by the courts. The maximum sentence for each degree of theft depends on the type of crime.



  • Third-degree theft. This is considered a gross misdemeanor (minor crime). If convicted of a gross misdemeanor, you can be given a maximum sentence of 365 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine (subject to change).

  • Second-degree theft. This is considered a Class C felony (serious crime). If convicted of a Class C felony, you can be given a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine (subject to change).

  • First-degree theft. This is considered a Class B felony. If convicted of a Class B felony, you can be given a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and/or a $20,000 fine (subject to change).


Remember that these are the maximum sentences. If you are accused of any of these crimes but have little or no criminal history, it's unlikely that you will receive the maximum sentence.


 

AttyCBradford :


If I have answered all your questions then please press accept and provide positive feedback, so I receive credit for my work. If not and you have additional questions please ask, and I will respond promptly. Please note: this is a PAID ANSWERING service, once your question has been answered, press accept. This conversation does not constitute an attorney-client relationship and is offered for informational purposes only. Lastly, sometimes it may take a moment to respond as I work with several customers at a time. Thank you and best of luck.

Customer:

the value of the items was $140 dollars, she is 37 with no past criminal record, what are the chances that this will be dismissed or deferred in some way?

AttyCBradford :

most likely she will be facing the first time offense which is known as third degree.

AttyCBradford :


If you plead guilty and its your first offense than it is a $350.00 fine , a class on petty theft and one day of community service. In addition to a $50.00 a month fee paid to the corrections for case management. You pay that fee until you complete the other items

AttyCBradford :
Customer:

is this something she need to get an attorney for?

AttyCBradford :

she could probably go with a public defender and be fine since it was a small amount

AttyCBradford :
Customer:

will the public defender giver her advice on whether to plead guilty or attempt to work to get it dismissed or deferred?

AttyCBradford :

yes the public defender will :)

AttyCBradford :

i would suggest entering a plea of not guilty and seeing what kind of offer they will give her and then decide at the second court hearing

Customer:

do we try to contact the public defender before hand or wait for the first court date?

AttyCBradford :

no you will be able to speak with someone at the first court date

Customer:

there would be a public defender present? or do you have to ask for one?

AttyCBradford :

you will have to ask for one

Customer:

she is super scared that she could face jail time. is that pretty unlikely?

AttyCBradford :

yes on a first offense

Customer:

ok. Thank you.

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