Baton Rouge Theft Crime Attorney
Theft sounds pretty straight forward; it’s stealing something. But depending on the state you live in, the specifics of theft can get complicated. In Louisiana, there are multiple different types of theft, theft charges, and penalties. Generally, you’re charged and penalized based on the value of the item you stole. But sometimes, juries have to consider these questions: what did you steal? How many times have you committed a theft crime? Was force or intimidation involved in the theft? Was a deadly weapon involved in the theft? The answers to these questions could greatly impact your charge, your fine, your prison sentence, and so much more. That’s why you need a Baton Rouge theft attorney from the Law Offices of Ossie Brown on your side.
Being arrested or convicted of any type of theft can result in serious consequences in Louisiana. That’s why you need the strongest theft defense possible in the courtroom. A Baton Rouge, LA criminal defense attorney will thoroughly analyze the facts of your case, gather sufficient evidence, and fight for your legal rights. Call 225-343-1111 today to schedule a free initial consultation.
What is Theft?
According to Louisiana state law (RS 14:67), theft occurs when someone takes anything of value from another person without their consent and with the intention of never giving it back. For example, joyriding (taking someone’s car for a ride without their consent) would not be considered a theft crime under Louisiana law because the person who took the car had full intention of returning it. Instead, joyriding would be classified as an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and it would come with a different set of penalties compared to theft charges.
In Louisiana, you can receive a misdemeanor or a felony theft conviction depending on a variety of factors such as your criminal history, how much the stolen property is worth, and what kind of item was stolen.
Common Types of Theft
There are many different types of theft crimes that people can commit. Some are more serious felonies than others. Below, our Baton Rouge criminal defense attorneys break down some of the most common types of theft in Louisiana.
Shoplifting is a type of theft where someone takes an item from the store without paying for it and without the store owner’s consent. If you endured a shoplifting arrest, you can expect to be charged with a misdemeanor as long as the item you stole was worth less than $1,000. You may also have to pay a fine of $100 to $500.
Louisiana law lists two main types of burglary: simple burglary and aggravated burglary.
Simple burglary occurs when someone unlawfully enters a piece of property (whether that be a car, house, boat, trailer, etc.) with the intent to commit a theft crime.
Meanwhile, aggravated burglary occurs when someone unlawfully enters a piece of property with a dangerous weapon in order to commit a theft crime. So offenders may enter the property with a weapon in hand or they may arm themselves with a weapon once they enter the property. Additionally, if an offender engages in any sort of violence or inflicts force upon a victim during the theft, they can receive an aggravated burglary conviction.
Burglary offenders can expect a prison sentence of up to 12 years along with a $2,000 fine.
Louisiana’s Revised Statute lists many different types of robbery crimes: simple robbery, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, and armed robbery.
Louisiana law classifies simple robbery as taking an item from someone by using force or intimidation. There are no dangerous weapons involved in this type of theft. Offenders may spend up to 7 years behind bars and may have to pay a maximum fine of $3,000.
First degree robbery occurs when someone steals an item from another person using force or intimidation. The main difference here is that the victim believes that the thief has a dangerous weapon on them. Offenders may spend 3 to 40 years behind bars at hard labor without the benefit of probation, parole, or sentence suspension.
Second degree robbery occurs when someone steals an object from another person and inflicts a serious injury upon them in the process. Offenders may spend 3 to 40 years in prison for this crime.
Lastly, armed robbery occurs when someone steals an item from someone while armed with a dangerous weapon and while using force or intimidation. Armed robbery offenders can expect 10 to 99 years of jail time with hard labor. Additionally, offenders won’t have the benefit of probation, parole, or sentence suspension.
According to state laws in Louisiana, identity theft is when someone steals, uses, transfers, or possesses someone else’s ID information in order to steal money, credit, items, etc. Depending on the specifics of each identity theft case, offenders can expect a maximum jail sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $5,000.
When you hear the term “grand theft auto,” you may immediately think of the video game and not the actual crime. Grand theft auto is basically when someone steals a car without the owner’s consent and with the intention of never giving it back.
In many states, this crime is considered a felony. However, not all states have grand theft auto charges. Louisiana doesn’t really use this term for car theft. Instead, this type of crime is listed under general theft, and the charges and penalties depend on the stolen car’s worth.
Louisiana’s Revised Statute does list another type of car theft crime called carjacking. Carjacking is basically when someone steals a car in the presence of the driver or passenger using force or intimidation. Offenders will receive a jail sentence of 2 to 20 years and will not have the benefit of parole, probation, or sentence suspension.
Embezzlement is also considered a white collar crime. Embezzlement occurs when someone steals money or assets from their employer. This theft crime is a type of financial fraud. The criminal charges and penalties vary depending on how much money or assets were stolen.
What is Considered Misdemeanor Theft in Louisiana?
Theft charges in Louisiana are classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The type of charge you receive heavily depends on the value and the type of property stolen. Generally, an offender will receive a misdemeanor charge if they steal an item that’s worth less than $1,000. Misdemeanor theft charges often result in a maximum jail sentence of 6 months and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
What is Considered Felony Theft in Louisiana?
Meanwhile, offenders will receive felony theft charges if they steal an item worth more than $1,000. Below, our Baton Rouge, LA legal team lists specific item values and felony theft penalties:
- If you steal an item valued between $1,000 and $4,999, you’ll spend up to 5 years behind bars and you’ll have to pay a fine of up to $3,000.
- If you steal an item valued between $5,000 and $24,999, you’ll spend up to 10 years in prison and you’ll have to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
- If you steal an item valued at more than $25,000, you’ll spend up to 20 years in jail and you’ll have to pay a fine of up to $50,000.
Enhanced Penalties for Repeat Offenses
If you have multiple theft crimes on your criminal record, you may receive harsher penalties. For example, if you commit misdemeanor theft two or more times, you’ll immediately be charged with felony theft in Louisiana. The penalties will be enhanced as well. Instead of a 6 month sentence and a $1,000 fine, offenders will face a maximum sentence of 2 years and/or a $2,000 fine.
Stealing a gun will also enhance theft charges and penalties in Louisiana. The first offense of a firearm theft can result in a 10 year jail sentence. A second offense of firearm theft can result in a 15 year jail sentence. And finally, a third offense can result in a 15 to 30 year jail sentence.
Theft charges and penalties may also be enhanced if you have any kind of serious felonies on your record, regardless of if they’re theft-related. The type of charge and the specifics of your penalty will vary based on what types of crimes you committed and how long ago you committed those crimes.
A Baton Rouge theft attorney at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown can review your criminal record, analyze the facts of your theft offense, and help you determine exactly what charges and penalties lay ahead. Additionally, we can form a strong defense on your behalf in order to give you the best case outcome possible.
Possible Defenses for Misdemeanor or Felony Theft Charges
When you hire a Baton Rouge criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown, you can rest assured that we’ll formulate the best defense possible. Depending on the facts of your theft case, we could potentially use the following defenses in your favor.
Authorization of Use
If someone gave you permission to take their property, item, or money, then it’s legally not considered theft. As previously stated, theft only occurs when someone steals something without the victim’s consent. In order for this defense to work in your favor, you must have proof of authorization of use. For example, maybe the victim texted or emailed you saying that you could take their car. Be sure to gather this evidence in order to strengthen your case.
Surveillance camera footage isn’t always clear, and human memory is not always accurate. If you are identified as a theft suspect through gritty surveillance camera footage or an inaccurate eyewitness report, a skilled attorney could claim this in court, with sufficient evidence of course.
Insufficient or Unreliable Evidence
If the plaintiff simply doesn’t have enough evidence to tie you to a theft crime – such as eyewitness statements, a police report, surveillance camera footage, etc. – then an experienced attorney could use this defense in your favor.
Return of Stolen Property
One of the main elements that classifies a crime as theft is intent to permanently deprive someone of their money, assets, or property. If you stole someone’s car, for example, but had full intent of returning it to the victim, you could receive a less severe charge and penalty.
Can You Expunge a Theft Conviction from Your Criminal Record in Louisiana?
Yes, you can expunge theft crimes from your record, but it all depends on how your case ended. In most cases, you can expunge a theft arrest or conviction from your record if your case was dismissed and at least 5 to 10 years has elapsed since you committed the crime. During that time period, you must not have been arrested or convicted of another crime. For more information on whether or not you can expunge theft from your record, contact a Baton Rouge criminal defense attorney at our law firm.
Call a Baton Rouge Theft Attorney at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown TodayIf you have received a theft charge (or any other felony charges), every theft lawyer at our Baton Rouge, LA law firm will aggressively defend your legal rights in court. Our legal team has a decades of combined experience in helping clients achieve the best case outcomes possible, whether that’s dropped charges, downgraded charges, a shorter prison sentence, or a smaller fine. If you were arrested or convicted for a theft charge, we’re ready to start an attorney-client relationship with you today. Call the Law Offices of Ossie Brown at 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation.
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