Theft Penalties in Washington, D.C.

Theft Penalties in Washington, D.C.

Posted By Hunter & Johnson, PLLC || 4-Mar-2016

The federal district of Washington, D.C. takes theft crimes of all sorts seriously. Most forms of the theft, including shoplifting a candy bar from a convenience store, can constitute a misdemeanor or, depending on the value of the item, a felony.

  • Shoplifting penalties: Up to $300 fine; up to 90 days in jail; civil fees equal to three times the actual value of the stolen item to the alleged victim; additional civil penalties equal to retail price of item with a minimum threshold of $50.
  • Second degree penalties (item valued under $1,000): Up to $1,000 fine; up to 180 days in jail; misdemeanor conviction on record; possible probation; community service.
  • First degree penalties (item valued over $1,000): Up to $5,000 fine; up to 10 years in prison; felony conviction on record; probation; community service.

If you have been arrested for a theft crime in Washington, D.C., the full force of the criminal justice system is bearing down on you in this instant. You need to act fast to defend yourself. But how? What defenses can you use against accusations of theft?

Our Theft Crime Attorneys Use Creative Defense Strategies

Imagine a scenario in which you get “caught red-handed” as the saying often goes. Are you out of luck and must accept whatever harsh penalties the criminal justice system has in store for you? Or does it remain important to always defend your rights and challenge the accusations?

At Hunter & Johnson, PLLC, our Washington D.C. theft lawyers truly believe in the importance of the criminally accused always sticking up for their rights. More than just benefitting people charged based on exaggerations or false claims, it also helps keep the criminal justice system honest. To this end, there are three main forms of defensive arguments we could use in your theft case:

  1. No property: In many theft crime cases, the property that was allegedly stolen never actually turns up again. With no physical evidence of an item being taken without permission, there are two problems: A) you could have been mistaken for someone who actually did commit theft, and B) the accuser might be lying, intentionally or inadvertently, and nothing was stolen at all.
  2. Mistaken rights: An investigation into theft cases where the stolen property is identified and found often reveals that the alleged perpetrator mistakenly thought the item was theirs to take. This is especially true in cases where an item is taken from a family member’s or friend’s home.
  3. Borrowing: To be charged for theft, the prosecution must prove that you took an item without any intent of returning it, or with the intent to deprive the original owner of it for all time. Simply wishing to borrow something to return at a later time, whether you asked for explicit permission or not, can be grounds for a theft defense case.

If you would like to know more about our representation, feel free to call (202) 759-7929 at any time to speak with our Washington D.C. criminal defense lawyers. You can also begin right now by filling out an online case evaluation form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss defenses to your charges.

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