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How does Washington law define theft?

Sometimes misunderstandings occur between people in Spokane, especially when it comes to property. However, these misunderstandings become serious when they lead to accusations of theft. For example, a person may have lent something to someone else, and then forgot he or she did so, believing the item had been stolen. Or sometimes a person misplaces something, but instead of thinking it is lost, accuses someone of stealing it. However, just when does a situation fall under the realm of "theft" for which a person can be criminally charged?

There are several acts that constitute theft under Washington law. One act of theft is when a person wrongfully takes or controls a piece of property that belong to someone else, with the intention of depriving that person of the property. Another act of theft is if a person deceives someone else for the purpose of taking a piece of property belonging to someone else, with the intention of depriving that person of the property. Finally, a third act of theft is if a person takes something that belongs to someone else that that was lost or was delivered somewhere else, with the intention of depriving that person of the property.

However, there are some defenses to theft under Washington law as well. For example, if the property was taken openly and the person believes in good faith that he or she owned the property (even if he or she didn't) this may be a defense to theft. Another defense to theft is if, during the normal course of business, there was property on a pallet that was delivered to someone to be repaired or to a pallet recycler.

Of course, any criminal charge has nuances that cannot be covered in this post, and this post cannot serve as the basis for any legal action. Those who have been accused of theft would be well-served to discuss the matter with a criminal defense attorney, who can assess a person's situation and provide them with more information.

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