To deter car theft and car prowls, the Snoqualmie City Council updated an ordinance to include a lesser charge of car trespass.
Ordinance 1275 creates a misdemeanor offense related to entering or attempting to enter a car, not in one’s possession.
In the newly adopted ordinance, a suspect will be charged with vehicle trespass if they knowingly enter, attempt to enter or remain unlawfully in a vehicle that belongs to someone else. Vehicle trespass is a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 90 days in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.
In the previous ordinance, a suspect was charged only with possessing a stolen motor vehicle, requiring a higher burden of proof on Police Officers. Possession of a stolen motor vehicle is a Class B felony.
Snoqualmie Police Chief Perry Phipps said, “This City ordinance gives us another way of deterring car thefts and prowls in Snoqualmie.”
According to the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force, Washingtonians reported 41,330 vehicles stolen between January and November 2022. Every day, approximately 132 vehicles are stolen in the State of Washington.
[Information provided by the City of Snoqualmie]