Frequently Asked Questions about Alleged Criminal Violations in Arlington, Edmonds, Everett, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe and the rest of Snohomish County, Washington

I got caught driving away from a gas station after pumping gas and not paying for it. What should I do?

First, you should not admit that you did this to anyone. Better yet, do not discuss the case with anyone except an attorney, even your husband or wife. Assuming the dollar amount is less than $750, you can be charged with one of two crimes: Theft in the Third Degree or Theft of Motor Vehicle Fuel. Both of these charges are classified as “gross misdemeanors” meaning they can be punished by up to 365 days in jail and a $5000 fine.

However, Theft of Motor Vehicle Fuel has an additional penalty that Theft in the Third Degree does not. The fuel conviction will result in suspension of your drivers’ license for a period of up to six months; the length is determined by the sentencing court.

It is imperative that you talk to an attorney soon to ensure that you are entirely protected. In many cases, defenses are available that may result in a dismissal (or a very favorable reduction) in charges. Hiring an attorney may be expensive, but when criminal history, jail time, fines and your license are at stake, it is very much worth the expense to be fully represented.
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