What is a degree? What crimes require a degree or RCW subsection? What if a degree or subsection is not listed?

A degree is a way to classify similar crimes according to severity. Degree details vary from state to state depending on that state’s law. Because the degree changes the nature of the crime, it’s important to accurately disclose this on the background check authorization form.

Common Washington crimes that require a degree are:

  • Theft 1, 2, and 3. Theft 1 and 2 are felony convictions. Theft 3 is a misdemeanor.
  • Washington State - Assault 1, 2, 3, and 4. Assault 1, 2 and 3 are felony convictions. Assault 4 is a misdemeanor.

Violations of Washington State’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act (VUCSA) or other drug related offenses are typically given an RCW section and subsection. Some common examples are:

In Washington, Municipal (city) and District (county) courts only hear misdemeanors. If a crime is being reported by a municipal or district court and does not list the degree, it is a misdemeanor. Example, a Theft 3 or an Assault 4.

If a crime is being reported by a Washington State Superior court or another source, and the degree or subsection, in the case of drug related offenses, is missing, the degree or exact nature of the offense will need to be determined by additional information furnished by the applicant.

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