How Much Stolen Property is a Felony in Louisiana?
If the value of the alleged stolen property is valued at $1000 or more, the theft charge becomes a felony in Louisiana. The determination of the value must be proven by the prosecutor and victim. This is usually done by showing exactly what was taken. If it is cash or money in an account, determining value is easy. If the property is not cash, such as a vehicle or jewelry, the value can be determined by other means such as finding other similar vehicles and examining their value or by having experts in a field appraise the value of the property. Also, the victim might supply the prosecutor with an invoice showing how much they had to spend to replace the property.
Definition of Theft in Louisiana
In Louisiana, theft is an umbrella term for numerous crimes, including embezzlement, larceny, and theft by deception. Thieving is considered as stealing or misappropriating anything valuable that belongs to another person or entity, including money, property, or services, by fraudulent conduct or without the owner’s consent. In the case of theft, the perpetrator has the intention of depriving one of their property.
There are specific types of theft which have their own different penalties, such as stealing firearms or harmful/fatal substances, which will not be described in this particular article. If you are curious about these special instances, make sure to do some research on the laws of Louisiana.
Theft in Louisiana: Misdemeanor VS Felony
If someone steals property valued at less than $1,000, it’s considered a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail. However, stealing property worth $1,000 or more is considered a felony, and penalties increase depending on the value of the stolen goods or services.
For example, if someone steals property with a value between $1,000 and $5,000, they will be sentenced up to five years in jail and/or receive a fine of up to $3,000. Between $5,000 and $25,000 will get the offender up to 10 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine. For $25,000 or more, 20 years in jail and/or a fine of $50,000.
Repeat Offenses of Theft in Louisiana
A misdemeanor (less than $1,000 of stolen property) can turn into a felony if the offender has already had two or more convictions. In which case, the six-month sentence would increase up to two years, and/or the fine would increase up to $2,000. Severity would also be dependent on the type of theft committed.
Penalties can become far more severe for habitual felony offenders, meaning they have been convicted of prior felonies (of any sort) within the past five years. Depending on the number and severity of the past felonies committed, punishments will be enhanced accordingly.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Louisiana
If someone steals merchandise from a store or other retailer, they will face the theft charges mentioned before, in addition to civil penalties. In Louisiana, shoplifting is defined as an intent to deprive a shop owner of property, by committing any of the following acts:
- Remove or change a price tag
- Conceal merchandise (hide the item under your jacket, in your bag, etc)
- Place it inside something else to avoid the theft detectors
- Switch around packaging
The criminal penalties mentioned previously would be applied according to the value of the shoplifted merchandise, additionally to some civil penalties. The offender would then be held liable by the shopkeeper for the retail value of what was stolen, if they’re not returned in their original condition. Also, there would be another fine between $50 and $500.
Additional Types of Felony Thefts
- Grand Theft Auto – This involves stealing another person’s car, and will be considered a felony theft if the vehicle is valued at $1,000 or more.
- Embezzlement – A fraudulent act in which the offender takes funds they were entrusted with, to keep or use for their own personal gain.
- Receiving Stolen Property – This is the instance where one accepts property from another which they know was stolen.
- Robbery – A combination of theft and using violence (or threat of harming others) to steal property.
Conclusion on How Much Stolen Property is a Felony in Louisiana
To conclude this article, theft in Louisiana is considered a misdemeanor if the stolen property or services are valued less than $1,000. It becomes a felony when what’s stolen is worth over $1,000, or when there have been repeat offenses. By now, you should have a better understanding of the theft laws of the state, as well as the penalties that come with them.
While misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, they still go on your criminal record, worsening your future convictions. They can make it more difficult for you to take out a loan, get a job, or purchase a house to live in. To avoid these problems, abide by the laws and never steal anything. All of this should answer your question about how much stolen property is a felony in Louisiana.