Types of Misdemeanor Theft in Louisiana
Misdemeanor Theft Louisiana
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What You Need to Know About Misdemeanor Theft in the State of Louisiana
A misdemeanor theft charge in Louisiana is quite a big deal as a conviction can have very severe consequences including jail time. Louisiana state laws define theft as taking anything of value that belongs to someone else without consent or by fraudulent means.
While penalties depend on the severity of the crime, you could end up with heavy fines, community service, and even a permanent criminal record amongst others.
When it comes to theft charges in Louisiana, they could be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. However, whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, the quality of legal services you choose will determine the outcome of your case.
Different Types of Theft Charges in Louisiana
Any kind of theft is a criminal offense, but the degree of theft varies based on certain factors such as the dollar value of the item that was stolen and where it was stolen from.
For instance, even if both are criminal charges, shoplifting is a much lesser offense than armed robbery. For a better understanding, let’s look at some of the common types of theft charges in Louisiana and their penalties.
Misdemeanor theft in Louisiana is classified as the least severe theft offense and includes stolen property that has a value of less than $1,000. If the defendant however has two or more prior theft convictions, it becomes a felony and not simply a misdemeanor theft. What this means is that if someone has ever been convicted for misdemeanor theft in the past, the offense becomes a felony charge which has much harsher consequences.
For a first offense, the punishment for misdemeanor theft in Louisiana is a sentence of not more than 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and in some cases, both.
Louisiana felony theft is when a person steals property valued at $1,000 or more. In this case, the offender is made to serve more severe penalties. These are the penalties for first-offense felony theft according to the Louisiana penal code:
- Valued between $1,000 or more but less than $5,000: up to 5 years in prison, a fine of $3,000, or both
- Valued over $5,000 or more but less than $25,000: up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $10,000, or both
- Valued $25,000 or more: up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $50,000, or both
Shoplifting in Louisiana involves the act of taking valuable item(s) or property from a merchant or retail establishment without consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the store owner of such item(s).
This can be carried out in several ways such as concealing an item in a purse, bag, pocket, or any sort of container or intentionally not scanning the item(s) at the self-checkout point. A person can also be charged for shoplifting if they alter or remove price tags from an item or if they unseal goods that haven’t been paid for.
The Louisiana state’s law classifies shoplifting as a theft misdemeanor. If the value of the item stolen is however more than $1,000, it may be charged as a felony. This means a stolen property worth more than $1,000 from a merchant will be subject to the appropriate felony theft charge sentencing guidelines.
Carjacking in Louisiana is intentionally taking a motor vehicle belonging to another person in the presence of the car owner, passenger, or any other person in lawful possession of the vehicle by the use of force or by intimidation and it is automatically a felony.
The penalty for the crime of carjacking is anywhere between 2 and 20 years of imprisonment with hard labor without the benefit of parole, probation, or a suspension of sentence.
Theft of a Motor Vehicle
In Louisiana, if someone were to steal a vehicle that belongs to another person either without the person’s permission or by fraud or if they take control of an automobile that they know or should reasonably know is stolen, they have committed theft of a motor vehicle.
The offender must have the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the motor vehicle, just as in other types of theft charges in Louisiana. In instances like this, the degree of the theft charge also depends on how much the vehicle is worth. The higher the dollar value of the car, the longer the jail sentence and the higher the fine.
The penalties for first-offense motor theft in Louisiana are:
- Valued at less than $1,000: up to 6 months of imprisonment, a fine of $1,000, or both.
- Valued between $1,000 to $5,000: up to 5 years of imprisonment, a fine of $3,000, or both.
- Valued between $5,000 to $25,000: up to 10 years of imprisonment, fine of $10,000 or both
- Valued at more than $25,000: up to 20 years of imprisonment. A fine of $50,000 or both.
Illegal Possession of Stolen Things
Louisiana State laws explain the illegal possession of stolen things as the intentional possessing, procuring, receiving, or concealing of anything which has been stolen. This also includes circumstances in which the offender know or had good reason to believe that the item was indeed stolen. The penalties for this still depend on the value of the stolen property that is being illegally possessed.
This means that you had to know that the items were stolen before you can be convicted of this charge. For example, if someone received a stolen item as a gift but had no idea that the item was stolen, then such an individual can’t be charged for illegal possession of stolen things.
If on the other hand such an individual knew or should have recognized that the items were stolen, then there will be a misdemeanor theft charge.
When it’s a first offense misdemeanor charge for illegal possession of stolen things in Louisiana, the penalties are:
- Valued at less than $1,000: up to 6 months of imprisonment, a fine of $1,000, or both
- Valued between $1,000 but less than $5,000 = up to 5 years of imprisonment, a fine of $3,000, or both
- Valued between $5,000 – $25,000: up to 10 years of imprisonment a fine of $10,000, or both
- Valued at $25,000 or more: Up to 20 years of imprisonment, a fine of $50,000, or both
If you have been convicted of receiving stolen items two or more times in the past, then any other convictions on this count will include up to 2 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2000.
There are several different types of robbery charges in Louisiana. Each type of robbery charge has its potential penalties but they are all very serious and lead to harsh penalties. Take a look at the different types of robbery charges and there penalties.
- Simple robbery: This involves taking anything of value directly from an individual, whether it be on their person or in their immediate control without the use of a dangerous weapon but using force or intimidation. The penalty for a simple robbery charge is up to 7 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to $3,000, or both.
- Second-degree robbery: A theft of property directly from another individual, whether on their person or in their immediate control and with the intentional infliction of serious bodily injury to the victim is classified as a robbery in the second degree. the penalty is often anywhere between 3-40 years of imprisonment with hard labor.
- First-degree robbery: This is the forceful taking of anything of value belonging to another person, whether directly from their person or in their immediate control and when the person believes the perpetrator to be armed with a dangerous weapon. The penalty may be not less than 3 years but not more than 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole, probation, or a suspension of sentence.
- Armed Robbery: Armed robbery is quite similar to the first-degree robbery but in this case, the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon. Such a charge may be anywhere between 10 to 99 years of imprisonment with hard labor without the benefit of parole, probation, or a suspension of sentence. There could be an additional 5 years sentence if the dangerous weapon in question is a firearm.
Misdemeanor theft is one of the most common crimes committed in Louisiana. What a lot of people however fail to realize is that the more times a person gets convicted, the more severe the misdemeanor punishment will be.
Why do you need a Louisiana theft defense attorney?
It is important to have an experienced and competent criminal defense attorney on your side if you have been charged with any type of theft crime in Louisiana. The state of Louisiana has incredibly harsh laws against theft, so whether you committed the offense or not, you will need expert legal advice and guidance to ensure that your constitutional rights remain protected.
A misdemeanor attorney in Louisiana with vast experience in handling criminal cases like yours will take the necessary steps to secure the most favorable outcome by building a strong defense and negotiating the best plea deal possible for your case.
Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Stahl
Theft in Louisiana can be treated as both a felony and a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstance and situation. If you need representation, contact us today.
A person with theft charges in Louisiana must speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Even misdemeanors could have long-term effects.