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Felony Theft Statistics and Trends

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Felony theft is a crime that has the potential to drastically alter an individual’s life, with legal consequences that can include imprisonment and hefty fines. A conviction can have long-lasting effects on a person’s ability to work, find housing, and maintain relationships. If you are at risk of facing felony theft charges, it is important to understand the laws surrounding this offense and how recent trends could affect your case’s outcome.

What Counts as a Felony Theft in Washington? 

In the state of Washington, theft offenses are charged based on the value of the stolen property or services, with some exceptions. The threshold for felony theft in Washington State is $750. Theft of property or services worth $750 or less is considered third-degree theft, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

When the value of the stolen property or services is more than $750 but less than $5,000, the offense is considered second-degree theft, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

First-degree theft involves stolen property or services worth over $5,000, or the theft of a firearm or motor vehicle, or taking property of any value directly from a person. These offenses can result in up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, regardless of the value of the stolen property or services.

Washington State Theft Statistics

According to data from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, there were 166,494 reported cases of larceny theft in the state of Washington in 2021. A total of 12,539 arrests were made based on these reports. Additionally, 35,385 incidents of motor vehicle theft were reported, resulting in 1,234 arrests.

Additional theft statistics include the following:

  • 5,802 robbery offenses were reported, resulting in 1,570 total arrests.
  • 5,939 stolen property offenses were reported, resulting in 3,094 arrests.
  • Most larceny-theft offenses took place at residences, comprising 33.7% of total crimes.
  • 11.9% of motor vehicle thefts occurred at businesses.

How Inflation Affects Felony Theft Thresholds

In Washington State, the threshold for felony theft has remained unchanged since 2009. However, inflation can still have an impact on the value of stolen property and its effect on theft charges.

For instance, the value of $750 in 2009 is worth approximately $1,050 in 2023, based on inflation rates. While the threshold for felony theft has remained the same, the value of stolen goods has decreased in terms of purchasing power. 

Contact a Washington Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you or a loved one is facing felony theft charges in Washington state, it is crucial to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Felony theft charges can have severe legal consequences that can affect your future opportunities, including employment, housing, and immigration options.

A Tacoma criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges you are facing, your legal rights, and the potential legal defenses available to you. He or she can also help you navigate the criminal justice system, ensure that your rights are protected, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. 

After your arrest, do not speak to the police or answer any questions. Instead, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin developing a defense strategy.

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