For many of my clients charged with Theft in the third degree it is a scary time in their life. They have many questions about the process, but one strategy that is often the first option is a "Compromise of Misdemeanor." Some have been charged with 3rd degree theft or "aka Shoplifting." This mostly occurs at retail locations like: Costco, Home Depot and retail locations inside shopping malls like Bellevue Square.
The procedure behind a "Compromise of Misdemeanor" is simple. Your attorney can contact the Security Officer or Security Department at the retail location and ask them if they really want to pursue the criminal prosecution of one of their customers that perhaps made a bad decision. In addition to asking them to sign a compromise of misdemeanor your attorney can offer them money, an amount of $250 is generally an amount I start with. If the store agrees then your attorney can drive to the retail location, present the paperwork and any money you have offered and then complete the process.
If you have been charged with "Shoplifting" or Theft 3rd degree then it is likely that you have received a Criminal Trespass Notice. This notice advises you of the fact that you are not to return to the location. If the retail location is a chain, such as Costco or OFC, then you cannot return to other locations of that store. These notices are generally in effect for two years. You should understand that you should NOT attempt to return to the store to have additional conversations with store security. This is a crime. Under RCW 9A.52.080 you can be charged with an additional crime for returning to the location.
If you have been charged with Theft or Shoplifting and you want to explore the possibility of a "Compromise of Misdemeanor" you should take the following steps:
1. Contact a criminal defense attorney.
2. Do NOT attempt to return to the location of the incident.
3. Bring all the documents given to you by the store or police to your appointment with the attorney.
If you have additional questions about how this process works please feel free to contact my office.
You can learn more by visiting our THEFT IN THE 3RD DEGREE WEBPAGE or by calling JOHN T LAW at (425) 533-2156
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