Shoplifting is considered a serious criminal offense in nearly all parts of Louisiana, especially New Orleans. Prosecutors have a lot of pressure to aggressively prosecute shoplifting offenders (often seeking jail time) because of tourism.
The term ‘Shoplifting’ simply means theft of merchandise from a business place or store, and it can be classified under larceny, which covers all cases of personal property theft. It is very important, therefore, to find a New Orleans shoplifting lawyer to help you if you or your loved one is charged with this crime.
Many people do not understand the severity of the punishments that come with shoplifting, probably because it is often not called by the name. So many states still punish shoplifting offenders under theft statutes or general larceny, and some states even use terms such as ‘concealment of merchandise’ or ‘retail theft.’
In Louisiana, particularly New Orleans, shoplifting is referred to under ‘theft of goods.’
Huge stores like Walmart, Belk, and Target who have had lots of shoplifting cases in the past have taken precautionary measures and are working closely with law enforcement authorities to ensure that shoplifting cases reduce in all their branches, or even be eliminated completely. We know how to help defendants that have been charged with stealing from Walmart, Target, or any other store in New Orleans.
Each state has its specific laws, but there are elements on which most shoplifting laws are based on:
a. The intention to deprive the store (or the owner of the store) of its rightful goods without paying the price.
b. Consciously hiding an item(s) offered up for sale.
This means that, in most states, it is possible for one to be charged with shoplifting without necessarily trying to leave the store with the stolen goods. Concealment of the goods within or outside the store building is enough. This is because there must be an intent to steal which begins with the concealment, so the law naturally sees the concealment as an intention to shoplift.
Furthermore, not only is the concealment of the item a crime, the refusal to consciously pay the complete price for an item can also be classified as shoplifting. This cover placing goods in different containers to avoid paying the complete cost, manipulating the goods, or trying to alter the price on the tag.
If you or your loved one have been charged with any of these crimes, it is important that you get a good New Orleans shoplifting lawyer to represent you in court, as shoplifting in Louisiana comes with dire legal consequences.
Any person charged with shoplifting may be charged with serious fines or jail time, depending on the severity. There are two types of penalties the accused may be given: criminal penalties and civil penalties
a. Criminal penalty: This simply refers to fines, jail time or any other criminal sentence that is imposed on the accused by law. These criminal sentences meted out to these persons depend on the circumstances surrounding the case and its severity. If the accused have had previous shoplifting cases, the criminal sentences would definitely be higher. The cost is also considered
· If the alleged stolen goods are worth less than $1000 with no prior shoplifting convictions: If a person steals goods worth less than $1000 and has no previous shoplifting history, he/she may either pay a fine of $1000 and/or spend 6 months in jail.
· If the alleged stolen goods are worth $1000 or more but less than $5000 with no prior shoplifting case: if a person shoplifts goods worth $1000 or more but less than $5000 and has had no prior shoplifting cases, he/she may be looking at either pay a fine of $1000 and/or spend up to two years in jail. This is a felony.
· When the alleged value of goods amounts to a value of $5000 or more, but less than a value of $25,000, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than 10 years, or may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.
· If the alleged goods amount to a value of $25,000 or more, the defendant shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than 20 years, or may be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars, or both.
· If the amount is less than $1000 but the defendant has two prior theft convictions, the third becomes a felony punishable by two years in prison.
· Value is added up: When there has been a misappropriation or taking by a multiple separate acts of the defendant, the total of the amount of the thefts shall determine the grade of the offense.
b. Civil Penalties: These are financial penalties meted out by government agencies to shoplifters (or any other accused person) as a form of restitution for the wrongs committed. These civil penalties do not involve jail times or any other legal consequence. They are usually given alongside criminal penalties. For instance, shoplifters can be sued to court by the store for the value of the merchandise stolen. If it isn’t returned in good sellable condition, the accused would pay back the value plus extra cost for damages incurred. Huge stores like Walmart, Belk, and Target that have had a series of shoplifting scandals often retrieve their money through civil penalties.
If you or your loved one has been charged with this crime, it is highly important that you get the best New Orleans shoplifting lawyer to represent you in court. That is why Carl Barkemeyer is here for your legal needs. As a New Orleans criminal defense attorney, he has a vast knowledge of cases regarding theft based on the experience he has garnered over the years.
He will help you explore your options, which includes trying to get you into the pretrial division program, and raising defenses so that you will get the best outcome from your case.
Carl Barkemeyer is a criminal defense attorney based in Louisiana, and he is here to guide you through every legal proceeding.