Each level of theft and fraud crime in Washington State carries a different range of penalties. These penalties are set by the legislature and codified in the Revised Code of Washington. Below you will find a brief explanation of the penalties associated with each level of theft and fraud crime.
This is the lowest level of crime and includes all crimes punishable for a period of up to 90 days jail. It also carries a range of fines from $0-$1000. Attempted Theft in the 3rd Degree would be an example of a theft crime in this category.
Gross Misdemeanors are crimes punishable from 0-364 days in jail and carry a fine of $0-$5000. Theft in the 3rd Degree is an example of a theft crime in this category.
Felonies are crimes punishable by over 1 year in jail. Felonies in Washington State are broken down into 3 categories of seriousness, A Class, B Class and C Class Felonies. They are punishable as noted below:
Class A: Up to life in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.
Class B: Up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
Cass C: Up to 5 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
These are the maximum penalties that each class felony can carry, but in practice, a judge is bound by a range of jail time that they are allowed to sentence a defendant to in each theft or fraud case.
This range is calculated using the Sentencing Reform Act Guidelines, and provides a complicated formula which contemplates the seriousness level of a crime with the defendants criminal history. There are often “enhancements” that prosecutor’s add to this sentencing range to make the exposure even greater.
These include deadly weapon and firearm enhancements, and in the case of theft charges, may include an enhancement for taking advantage of a vulnerable class of persons, like the elderly or children. It is very important to consult with a competent attorney when facing a Washington State felony charge to determine your sentencing range.