What is the Punishment for Stealing a Car ?

SQ Attorneys

In the State of Washington, a theft occurs when a person takes another’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. State theft laws often use some form of this general definition, but differ regarding the treatment of general theft compared to auto theft. Based on the value of the property in question, a defendant can be charged from a class B felony down to a misdemeanor offense.

Washington’s general theft law has a provision that criminalizes stealing cars specifically, but the state also has separate statutes dealing exclusively with auto theft. The fact that Washington’s auto theft laws are governed by distinct statutes apart from the general theft statutes shows that the lawmakers considered auto theft a top priority in the state. Stealing a car or possessing a stolen car constitutes a Class B felony in Washington regardless of the value of the vehicle.

Washington criminalizes the taking of vehicles without permission and divides this crime into two degrees. A first degree violation occurs if the actor takes the vehicle without permission and then changes its appearance or identification, removes its parts with the intent to sell them, crosses state lines for profit, or generally intends to sell the vehicle. Conversely, a second-degree offense requires only that the actor take the vehicle without permission or voluntarily ride in the vehicle, knowing it was unlawfully taken.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

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