Property crimes

Theft and Shoplifting

The lawyers at Ashbach Law Offices, LLC provide aggressive, strong defense for those charged with Theft throughout Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Our goal is to aggressively protect you, your family and your interests from the prosecution, saving jail time, licenses, occupations and reputations. With offices in Marysville and Mill Creek, Washington, we are available to meet you discuss your case. We help good people in bad situations. Let us help you.

In General


Washington State has three degrees of simple theft. First Degree Theft and Second Degree Theft are felonies, while Third Degree Theft is a gross misdemeanor. The theft statutes contemplate the unauthorized taking or “exertion of unauthorized control” over the property or services of others. Services include labor, professional services and hotel services, in addition to many other types.

The taking does not have to be intended to be permanent. In the context of shoplifting, it is not necessary that the alleged shoplifter even leave store premises. Sufficient evidence of the intent to steal has been held sufficient by Washington Courts.

If the prosecutor can prove a series or pattern of thefts, those dollar values can be aggregated to enhance the punishment level, moving a misdemeanor to a felony.

Theft in general can be committed three ways: taking or exerting unauthorized control over property, using deception to obtain property, and keeping lost or misdelivered property.

Theft convictions, even for gross misdemeanors, can have significant downstream effects for those charged. These include inability to obtain security clearances and inability to obtain many types of jobs.

Third Degree Theft (often Shoplifting)


Theft of property or services with a value of less than $750 is Theft in the Third Degree, or Third Degree Theft, and is a gross misdemeanor. It is not necessary that the item or items being taken have an actual value. In theory, the item could have zero value. Most thefts are charged as Theft in the Third Degree as a result of a shoplifting allegation. As a gross misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5000 fine.

Second Degree Theft


Theft in the Second Degree, or Second Degree Theft, is punishable as a Class C Felony if the allegation is proven. Second Degree Theft includes theft of property valued between $750 and $1500, public writing and records, commercial metal property less than $5000 and theft of access devices. It is punishable by up to five years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

First Degree Theft


Theft in the First Degree, or First Degree Theft, is punishable as a Class B Felony if the allegation is proven. First Degree Theft includes theft of property valued greater than $1500, theft of a search and rescue dog, commercial metal property greater than $5000 and theft of any item taken from the person of another (very similar to robbery). It is punishable by up to 10 years in jail and/or a $20,000 fine.

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients charged with Theft and Shoplifting offenses throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.