Motor Vehicle Theft Crimes in Washington State

Theft motor vehicle

Theft of a Motor Vehicle and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle

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Washington vehicle theft crimes are governed by separate statutes from general theft crimes.   The laws governing Washington vehicle theft  cases can be found in the Revised Code of Washington at RCW 9A.56.

Washington vehicle theft crimes fall into the following categories:

  • Theft of a Motor Vehicle (9A.56.065):
    A person commits theft of a motor vehicle by stealing a vehicle regardless of the value of the vehicle.

    Theft of a motor vehicle is a class B felony punishable by a maximum of  10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine.  Actual penalties for a Washington  theft crime, however, are determined by the Sentencing Reform Act, RCW 9.94A and the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines.

  • Possession of a Stolen Vehicle (9A.56.068):
    A person commits possession of a stolen motor vehicle by possessing a stolen vehicle regardless of the value of the vehicle.

    Possession of a Stolen Vehicle is a class B felony punishable by a  maximum of 10 years in jail and a $20,000 fine.  Actual penalties for a  Washington theft crime, however, are determined by the Sentencing Reform  Act, RCW 9.94A and the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines.

  • Taking a Motor Vehicle without Permission (TMV) in the 1st Degree (9A.56.070):
    A person commits TMV 1st Degree by intentionally taking a vehicle  without the permission of the owner and alters the vehicle for the  purpose of changing its appearance or identification, removes parts with  intent to sell them, takes the vehicle across state lines for profit,  or otherwise intends to sell the vehicle.

    TMV 1st degree is a class B felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years  in jail and a $20,000 fine.  Actual penalties for a Washington theft  crime, however, are determined by the Sentencing Reform Act, RCW 9.94A and the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines.

  • Taking a Motor Vehicle without Permission (TMV) in the 2nd Degree (9A.56.075):
    A person commits TMV 2nd degree by intentionally taking a vehicle  without the permission of the owner or by voluntarily riding in a  vehicle with knowledge that the vehicle was unlawfully taken.

    TMV 2nd Degree is a class C felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in  jail and a $10,000 fine.  Actual penalties for a Washington theft  crime, however, are determined by the Sentencing Reform Act, RCW 9.94A and the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines.

  • Making or Possessing Motor Vehicle Theft Tools (9A.56.063):
    Any person who makes, uses or possess a motor vehicle theft tool under  circumstances showing an intent to use or employ or knowing they will be  used or employed in the commission of a motor vehicle theft is guilty  of Making or Possessing Motor Vehicle Theft Tools.

    Motor vehicle theft tools can include: slim jim, false master key,  master purpose key, altered or shaved key, trial or jiggler key, slide  hammer, lock puller, picklock, bit, nipper, or any other implement shown  by facts and circumstances to be intended for use in motor vehicle  theft.

    Making or Possessing Motor Vehicle Theft Tools is a gross misdemeanor  and punishable by a maximum of 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.  RCW 9.92.020.

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