DC Theft and Shoplifting
A Washington, DC Theft charge involves wrongfully obtaining or using the property of another with intent to deprive the other of a right to the property or to take the property for his or her own use. "Wrongfully obtains" simply means that you did not have permission to take the property.
In some cases, the stolen property may actually be a service instead of a physical object. Under District of Columbia law, if a person is provided a service and that person had no intention of paying, then the person may be guilty of theft. For example, if you eat at a restaurant and have no intention of paying the bill, you may be charged with theft under Washington, DC law.
The maximum penalty for theft in DC is determined by the amount or value of property involved.
Value of Stolen Property is $1,000 or more – this first degree DC theft charge is a felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Value of Stolen Property is less than $1,000 – this second degree theft charge is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Shoplifting is generally charged as second degree theft.
One import thing you should discuss with your DC theft lawyer is that a theft or shoplifting conviction may have very serious consequences on the rest of your life, even if the stolen property involved was as insignificant as a candy bar from Safeway. The reason for that is because theft is considered a crime of dishonesty, and people generally don't trust dishonest people. You may have trouble finding work that in any way involves being trusted with money. This may include anything from a cashier position to a high level financial manager.
If you have been charged with a theft crime, please feel free to contact my DC law office for a free no-obligation consultation.