When taken at face value, a misdemeanor theft or shoplifting charge doesn’t seem particularly grievous. However, any responsible criminal lawyer in Tacoma would tell you that theft charges must be taken seriously, just as we do here at the Law Offices of Kim E Hunter, PLLC, precisely because it has life-changing repercussions to it.
On the surface, the consequences for getting picked up on a shoplifting or misdemeanor theft charge might look relatively light. It is possible that you may be trespassed from, or forbidden from entering, the store. If the store is in a mall, you could be trespassed from the entire mall for a year or more.
In terms of jail time, a conviction could land you in the slammer for up to 364 days and hit you with a fine of up to $5,000. Furthermore, you could also be subject to more assessments by the courts and be sued for civil penalties.
While these repercussions might seem minor, there are major long-lasting effects that come as a result of having a misdemeanor theft or shoplifting charge on your criminal record. In the practice of law, such a charge is often referred to as an “honesty crime” or a “crime of moral turpitude.” This, essentially, places doubt on your ability to live by certain moral standards accepted by society as a whole.
It is this doubt that is cast on your moral fortitude that can have the biggest effect on your life. First, a large majority of employers will refuse a job applicant with a theft conviction for fear of compromising their business. This is especially true for most positions in any kind of retail or food service business, as well as for any job in the accounting sector.
Second, a theft conviction can also jeopardize your ability to secure financial aid, should you need it to finance any plans of future education.
Finally, if you are not a citizen of the United States, a conviction for shoplifting or misdemeanor theft could pose a major negative impact on your immigration status now and in the future.
With a competent criminal attorney in Tacoma to defend you, however, pursuit of a compromise of misdemeanor entry could see your charge dismissed. This action is in line with the Revised Code of Washington 10.22.010/020, which allows the defendant to be cleared of the theft charge if the “party injured” is satisfied with a payment of the costs of the injury.
It is imperative, however, that you contact an attorney to assist you with your paperwork and to make the necessary motion for you. If you face such a situation, contact our office today using the information available on our website.