DC Theft Laws

In Washington, DC, there are various crimes that involve theft. Most prominently, these are codified under theft and robbery. Information on fraud is available here.

If you are seeking information about how the theft laws may apply in specific circumstances, there is no substitute for the experience of a DC theft lawyer. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to call (202) 529-9374 to schedule a no-cost case evaluation today.

Robbery Section 22-2801

In the District of Columbia, the crime of robbery is covered under Title 22, Subtitle I, Chapter 28 of the DC Code. Section 22-2801 states that an individual is guilty of robbery if the individual:

  • Uses force or violence (regardless of whether it is met by resistance or accomplished through stealth and/or speed), or puts another person in fear,
  • To take from the person anything of value.

If an individual is convicted of robbery the individual faces the penalty of up to 15 years in prison and up to $37,500 in fines.

Attempted Robbery Section 22-2802

If an individual attempts robbery (as defined in the section above) through “an overt act,” then that person will, upon conviction, face up to three years in prison, up to $12,500 in fines, or both. Section 22-2802.

Carjacking Section 22-2803

The District of Columbia has laws specifically tailored to carjacking because of many highly-publicized incidents that caused the DC Council to pass anti-carjacking legislation in 1993, providing deterrents through stiffer penalties for convicted carjackers. See the Metropolitan Police Department discussion of carjacking here.

Under DC Code Section 22-2803, an individual is guilty of carjacking if an individual intentionally uses force, stealth, fear, or attempts to instill fear, to take a person’s car (or any motor vehicle).

Like the crime of robbery, it does not matter whether the individual used force to take the vehicle or suddenly seized the vehicle. It also does not matter whether the individual put the victim in fear or merely attempted to instill fear, as long as the individual then proceeded to take actual possession of the vehicle. Section 22-2803(a)(1).

If an individual is convicted of carjacking then the individual will face a fine of up to $75,000 and seven to 21 years in prison. Section 22-2803(a)(2).

However, if an individual is armed with a gun, fake gun, knife, brass knuckles, razor, or other deadly weapon while committing the carjacking, the individual is then guilty of committing armed carjacking. Section 22-2803(b). Armed carjacking is a Class A Felony. Section 22-2803(b)(2).

If an individual is convicted of armed carjacking, the individual faces a fine of up to $125,000 and a prison sentence with a mandatory minimum term of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 40 years. See Section 22-2803(b)(2).

Theft Section 22-3211

In the District of Columbia, theft is a broadly defined crime that can apply to many different situations. Theft includes conduct that was previously known as the separate crimes of larceny, larceny by trick, larceny by trust, embezzlement, and false pretenses. Section 22-3211(a).

Under Section 22-3211(b), an individual is guilty of theft if the individual:

  1. Takes, or takes control of, property, or;
  2. Without permission, uses or changes an interest in or possession of property, or;
  3. Uses tricks, deception, or falsehoods to acquire property, and;
  4. The individual does this with the intent to:
    • Take away someone’s right to (or benefit of) the property, or;
    • Use the property as if it were the individual’s own or to let a third party use the property as if it were his or her own.

To be found guilty of theft, an individual must knowingly commit these acts with the intent described above.

Furthermore, it is possible for theft to occur where the “property” in question is in the form of services. In such a case, an individual would obtain services with the knowledge that the individual would be required to pay for the services. Then, the individual would leave the place where the individual was receiving services without paying for the services. Section 22-3211(c).

An individual is guilty of theft in the first degree if the property taken or used was worth at least $1,000. Section 22-3211(a).

An individual is guilty of theft in the second degree if the property taken or used had some value (but the value was less than $1,000). Section 22-3211(b).

If a person is convicted of theft in the first degree, the penalties include a fine of up to $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison. Section 22-3211(a).

If someone is convicted of theft in the second degree, the penalties include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail. Section 22-3211(b).

If an individual is convicted of theft in the first or second degree but has at least two prior convictions for the crime of theft (committed at different times), then the individual faces a fine of up to $5,000 and one to 10 years in prison. If the individual is sentenced to a term in prison, they face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year (meaning no probation or early release until the individual has completed the entire year in prison). Per Section 22-3211(c).