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The Stigma of Shoplifting and Getting Shoplifting Charges Dismissed

Posted by John Tymczyszyn | Mar 28, 2015 | 2 Comments


Eric McClellan, who is a college basketball player at Gonzaga was recently arrested for shoplifitng. “I went into Nordstrom and stole a couple of shirts,” McClellan says in the Seattle Times Article.

What may have seemed like a harmless and fun prank turned into a nightmare for McClellan and almost ended his college basketball career. His coach said  “I didn't have to spend time scolding Eric,” she says. “He was humiliated publicly.”


I have recently represented clients that have been charged with Shoplifting at the Bellevue Square Nordstorm's, Bellevue Square Macy's, Kirkland Costoc and Issaquah Costco. Many of these cases have differences, but in most cases my cleint has a clean criminal record, family, and solid reputation to protect in the community. 


Many of these clients are not familiar with the process of a "compromise of misdemeanor" and how it is in some cases possible to have theft in the 3rd degree charges dropped. The process I follow is very similar in most cases.

1. I proactivly have my client complete an 8 hour theft class.  Some of these classes are availible in person, but the one I prefer is on The cost of the class is $70, and my clients can complete the course in their spare time. My client then prints out the diploma gives me a copy. 

2. I contact LP (loss prevention) officers at the store. I provide LP officers with a copy of the diploma and attempt to negotiate a financial settlement. If loss prevention officers at the store, or the stores attorneys accept a financial settlement then they receive money from my client.

3. If a financial settlement is reached then I have the store sign a civil release of claim so that the store cannot sue my client for monetary damages. Washington State Law allows stores to charge a theft defendant $2850 under RCW 4.24.230. The settlement that I reach for my clients is generally between $250-$1000. This amount is dependant on the store and the value of the merchandise that my client is accused of shoplifting. Additionally, some stores may sign a victim declaration for what is called a "Compromise of Misdemeanor under RCW 10.22. This means that in some cases it is possible to have the charges dismissed by entering into an agreement with the store. You can download an "Victim Statement Example" below.


Declaration of Victim.pdf

4. After the store like Nordstrom, Macy's, Whole Foods or Costco is made financially whole I contact the prosecutor. In cities like, Belleuve, Issaquah, Kirkland or Seattle there are both King County prosecutors and municipal prosecutors. The location of the store that has accused you of stealing will determine the court you go to and the prosecutor assigned to your case. Your home address is not relevant.

5. If both the prosecutor and the judge accept the Compromise of misdemeanor then your shoplifting charge will be dismissed.

If you have been accused of shoplifting or theft in the 3rd degree it is time to speak with an experienced attorney about these charges. Call for a free consultation (425) 533-2156.

 Some of the retail locations where my clients have been accused of shoplifting include: Bellevue Square, Bellevue Square Macy's, Bellevue Square Nordstom, Bellevue Target, Redmond Target, Bellevue Walmart, Bellevue Nordstrom Rack, Kirkland Costco, Federal Way Costco, Issaquah Costco, Bellevue Whole Foods, Redmond Whole Foods, QFC and Fred Meyer.

For more information about visit our Shoplifting & Theft in the 3rd Degree Webpage.

About the Author

John Tymczyszyn

Attorney John T. is a third generation Washingtonian, Navy Veteran and criminal defense attorney.


Junior brock Reply

Posted Mar 01, 2017 at 09:21:26

How do ya prove a mistameter shop lift is not a feloney

John Tymczyszyn Reply

Posted Mar 11, 2017 at 10:54:43

If the amount in question is below $750 in Washington State.

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