Theft in Louisiana—Is It a Felony or a Misdemeanor

theft in louisiana
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How is theft treated in Louisiana? Is it treated as simply a misdemeanor, or is it treated more seriously as a felony? Both. Louisiana can treat thefts as both a felony and a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstance and situation. This will generally be decided based on the amount or value of the item stolen, where the higher the amount, the more severe the consequences.

That being said, let us delve deeper into theft to learn more about how it may be dealt with in Louisiana:

Theft as a Felony or Misdemeanor

“Theft” itself is the crime of purposefully taking someone else’s belongings with the intent to deprive them of that belonging permanently. It happens when that belonging is taken without permission or consent or taken through fraudulent methods. That said, theft comes in many names, such as robbery, looting, shoplifting, burglary, and the like.

To determine whether the act is a misdemeanor or a felony, it all lies on the dollar value of the item being stolen. Because of this kind of treatment, even petty theft can end up treated as a felony, meaning that it can attract much more severe consequences like incarceration.

Dollar Value vs. the Consequences

Whenever theft is committed, the value of what was stolen will be identified to know whether the act counts as a felony or a misdemeanor. The total value stolen will also constitute the name of the act, where theft running $500 will be called petty theft, while higher amounts go to grand theft and federal grand theft.

With petty theft, low-value items are generally what is stolen. This usually follows a misdemeanor charge with a jail time of only up to six months. However, there’s always the risk that it can also end up being treated as a felony, depending on the dollar value of the stolen item.

Grand theft happens when the dollar value of what was stolen falls between $500 and $1,500. Grand theft can still be treated as a misdemeanor depending on the circumstance, but it can also be treated as a felony.

Regardless, the consequence of a grand theft includes either or both imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of over $2,000. Going past the $1,500 value of the stolen items, consequences include either or both incarceration of up to 10 years and a fine of $3,000.

Previous Convictions and Theft Charges

More often than not, any prior convictions the subject may have will make the theft charges more severe. For instance, what is supposed to be treated lightly, such as petty theft, will be treated a lot more harshly. Rather than just a six-month imprisonment time, the individual can face up to two years and be fined up to $2,000.

If you have a question about theft in Louisiana, contact The Law Office of Christopher M. Stahl today.

Conclusion

If you’ve committed theft and are now facing theft charges, it will significantly impact your life, no matter how small it is. The best thing you can do in this scenario is to hire a criminal defense attorney to ensure that you will get the best outcome possible for your case.

While it will still mean paying your fines or serving jail time, it can limit the consequences you face, ensuring that minimal damage has been done to your life once you come out of it.

Remember, theft is and always will be a severe criminal charge, and carefully navigating through your case with the help of a criminal defense attorney will allow you to come out on as good a note as possible.

Christopher M. Stahl is a Bossier City criminal defense attorney who has been practicing law since 2012. He specializes in the Webster Parish and Minden, LA areas and has handled hundreds of criminal law cases in the state. Request a consultation today to learn more.

Contact us by filling out the form below.

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