Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys

You’ve been accused of Looting. Now what?

Accused of looting? We can help.

The nationwide and local protesting in the wake of the death of George Floyd and others has been largely very peaceful and productive.  However, this has not stopped the police from pursuing suspects they believe engaged in “looting” during these protests.

For instance, in October of 2020, the Bellevue police department referred 70 cases to the prosecutor’s office for filing of various charges, including Burglary, Theft, Malicious Mischief (which is essentially vandalism/property damage), and possession of stolen property, among other potential charges.

Many of these charges can be filed as felonies.  This is why it’s important to have a strong and experienced defense team by your side to protect your rights in a prosecution of this nature.

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Common Looting Crimes Questions

The most common charges we see for looting are:

  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Malicious Mischief (property damage/vandalism)
  • Possession of Stolen Property
 

The charge of Burglary is always a felony.  The other charges can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. 

Malicious mischief is essentially property damage/vandalism.  There are three degrees of seriousness:

  • First Degree – Class B Felony
  • Second Degree – Class C Felony
  • Third Degree – Gross Misdemeanor 


In the context of looting, the degree that you are facing typically comes down to the dollar amount of alleged damage caused. 

  • Over $5,000 – First degree
  • $750 – $5,000 – Second Degree
  • Under $750 – Gross Misdemeanor 

If your are charged with burglary, you are being accused of entering a building with the intent to commit a crime once inside.

In the context of looting, the allegation would be that you entered a store with the plan to steal merchandise inside.

Interestingly, in many looting cases, the state can have a tough time proving that you actually went inside the store. 

What are some of the potential results I can expect?

Because every case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances, it’s not possible for us to tell you what result you will get on your particular case until we have had a chance to fully litigate it. That said, here are some potential results, all of which we have achieved for our clients:

  • Compromise of Misdemeanor
  • Dismissal of charges in pre-trial stage for legal/factual reasons
  • Stipulated Order of Continuance
  • Deferred Sentence
  • Reduction of charges
  • Reduction of penalties
  • Not guilty verdict after trial

The answer to this varies depending on your particular situation, but there are three universal pieces of advice:

  1. Do NOT talk to the police
  2. Do NOT talk to anyone else about the situation either as you run the risk of creating witnesses for the government
  3. Consult with an Attorney

From there, we need to hear more about your individual situation to advise your further.  In the meantime, please view our video below on the subject and visit our Under Investigation page.

under-investigation

There is a wide variety of potential outcomes, so we don’t want you to get ahead of yourself with worrying about every single potential consequence, but because we know this is often a burning question, here are a few:

  • Jail/Prison
  • Fines/Restitution
  • Work Release
  • Community Service
  • Electronic Home Monitoring
  • Community Custody/Probation

Theft is considered to be a “crime of dishonesty.” Thus, a conviction can lead to collateral consequences such as loss of current employment, reduced future job prospects, immigration concerns, and even denials of housing applications.

Protect yourself with a looting crimes criminal defense lawyer.

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