House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Public Safety Committee
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Changing the definition of theft.
Sponsors: Representatives Griffey, Goodman, Klippert, Lovick, Springer, Orwall, Irwin, Stokesbary, Blake, Pellicciotti and Van Werven.
Hearing Date: 1/21/19
Staff: Omeara Harrington (786-7136).
For purposes of the chapter in the criminal code relating to theft and related offenses, "theft" includes any of the following conduct:
wrongfully obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over the property or services of another, or the value thereof, with intent to deprive the other person of the property or services;
by color or aid of deception, obtaining control over the property or services of another, or the value thereof, with intent to deprive the other person of the property or services; or
appropriating lost or misdelivered property or services of another, or the value thereof, with intent to deprive the other person of the property or services.
The severity and sentence for general theft offenses depend upon the value of the property or services at issue. Theft in the first degree, a class B felony offense, occurs when a person commits theft of property or services valued in excess of $5,000. Theft in the second degree, a class C felony offense, occurs when a person commits theft of property or services valued in excess of $750, but not exceeding $5,000. Theft in the third degree, a gross misdemeanor offense, occurs when a person commits theft of property or services valued at $750 or less.
The definition of "theft" is used to establish a number of additional crimes. These include, for example, Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Theft of a Firearm, Possessing Stolen Property, Theft with Intent to Resell, and Organized Retail Theft.
A person may be found guilty of the separate crime of Attempt if, with intent to commit a specific crime, he or she does any act which is a substantial step toward the commission of that crime. An attempt to commit a crime is generally classified at one level lower than a completed offense. For example, Theft in the second degree is a class C felony, but Attempt to commit Theft in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor.
Summary of Bill:
In addition to the existing definition of "theft," theft also includes concealing property of another intending that the concealment will deprive the other person of its use or benefit.
Fiscal Note: Requested on January 16, 2019.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.