Shoplifting can be a Serious Crime
by Lewis & Laws
Shoplifting can be a Serious Crime
According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, more than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers each and every year. This amounts to $35 million in stolen goods per day! Even more shocking is that 1 in 11 people will commit the crime of shoplifting in their lives - but only 1 in 48 will be caught. Of those, half will be turned over to the police for prosecution.
The crime of shoplifting is a serious offense that is often not taken as seriously as it should. In fact, many people believe that shoplifting is a victimless crime - especially since many retail stores are big box stores with a high volume of sales. This is far from true. The cumulative effect of shoplifting and theft is substantial and the losses are absorbed by us - the consumer.
According to the NASP, virtually anyone can be a shoplifter and there is no such thing as a “typical” profile. Shoplifters occur in every race, every culture, and along every socio-economic group. Both men and women shoplift in equal proportions. 25% of shoplifters are underage - but 55% of shoplifters say they first started shoplifting while they were in their teens.
Shoplifting is a Serious Crime
Many people mistakenly think that the consequences of shoplifting aren’t very severe and as such, they may not fight these charges as aggressively as they should. The simple fact is that a shoplifting conviction is very serious and could even result in a felony conviction and time in jail. If you have been accused of shoplifting, it is important to have an experienced Washington criminal defense lawyer on your side from the very start. Your lawyer will need to fight these charges in order to protect your future.
In Washington, the crime of shoplifting is classified according to the value of the property that you are accused of stealing. It is a theft crime, and like other theft charges, a conviction comes with jail time and hefty fines. In addition to the criminal consequences, a charge of shoplifting can have a significant and adverse effect on your life, your relationships, and even your job. It can ruin your reputation in your community and can prevent you from gaining employment.
Theft in the 3rd Degree
Most shoplifting charges will fall under this classification. If the property you are accused of stealing is valued at $750 or less, then you may be facing Theft in the 3rd Degree charges. This is a gross misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and $5,000 in fines.
Theft in the 2nd Degree
If the property you are accused of stealing is valued between $750 and $5,000 then you may be facing Theft in the 2nd Degree charges. This is considered a Class C felony offense and can result in up to 5 years in jail and fines up to $10,000.
Theft in the 1st Degree
If the property you are accused of stealing is valued over $5,000, then you may be facing Theft in the 1st Degree charges. This is classified as a Class B felony offense and can result in up to 10 years in jail and fines up to $20,000.
Penalties for felonies are governed by Washington State sentencing guidelines and judges must stay within this range unless there are mitigating factors. If you are a first time offender, you may qualify for sentencing alternatives. As such, it is important to have an experienced and skilled Washington criminal defense lawyer fighting for you during this difficult time.
Have you or someone you love been arrested and charged with shoplifting? Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws
If you have been charged with a theft crime, such as shoplifting, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible in order to protect your rights as well as your future. The experienced defense team at Baker, Lewis, Schwisow & Laws, PLLC vigorously defend the rights of individuals facing a multitude of charges in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!