Louisiana RS 14:67 Theft – Explained So You Can Understand
If you’re here it’s probably because you’ve been arrested for theft or you just received a summons for theft. Either way, you’re wondering what is LA RS 14:67. That is the actual statute that the police officer is accusing you of violating. In other words, the cop thinks you broke the law. The law for which he thinks you broke is the theft law which was written by lawmakers and given the number 14:67. When he gave you the summons or made an arrest, he had to write the statute number on your ticket or arrest paperwork so the judge and prosecutor can know why he arrested you.
Just because the cop thinks you committed a theft, does NOT mean you’re going to get convicted of it. Within weeks after you get the summons or arrest, the police officer will send his reports about the incident to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecuting attorney will look at the case and determine how he wants to charge you formally. This is more important than the charge the officer wrote down. This is when you want your criminal defense attorney in contact with the prosecutor. Don’t wait until your court date comes to hire a lawyer the day before.
Theft cases can be very different factually. At the Barkemeyer Law Firm, we’ve seen it all. We’ve seen theft charges involving misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars in building construction to switching price tags at Walmart. So, I realize you could be one of those or in the middle. That’s why in this article, I’ll try to just break down some of the important points that should apply to you no matter what you are accused of.
What is Theft and Can They Prove It?!?
According to the theft statute in Louisiana under 14:67, theft is the misappropriation or taking of anything of value which belongs to another, either without the consent of the other to the misappropriation or taking, or by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations. What does this really mean? Theft is basically:
- Keeping something from someone else, either by taking it from them or failing to let them have possession of it.
- that thing has value
- the taking was done without their consent or you got their consent but did so by using lies or manipulation, and
- you had intent to keep the thing from them permanently.
I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, I could just say that I was gonna give it back.” The problem with that defense is that it may not be believable and it would just become an unauthorized use charge which can be just as bad.
Let’s do some examples. I’ll try to use some life-like hypotheticals so we can make this more real. Let’s say Cassidy works at Victoria’s Secret as a cashier. A lot of shoplifting by customers goes on at Victoria’s Secret by the way. But, we’ll just focus on Cassidy for now. Cassidy and her BFF Kaitlyn decide they have a scam to get some merchandise for cheap. Kaitlyn comes in and picks out $2000 worth of merchandise from the racks and goes to check out with Cassidy. Cassidy rings up the items for $2000 plus tax but decides to apply an 80% discount that she knows is a recent glitch in the system. The total comes to just over $400. Eventually, after doing this many times, the manager figures out the glitch, reviews transactions, pulls video, calls the police, and Cassidy is arrested. Kaitlyn is also arrested as a principal to theft. They are both charged with felony theft because they kept $1600 from Victoria’s Secret that was owed to the store. If the value of the taking is $1000 or more, the charge is felony theft. They are looking at a potential prison sentence of up to 5 years. Felony theft is a probatable charge. However, that determination would be made by the judge at the end of the case.
Let’s do the most common misdemeanor theft example of all. Walmart shoplifting at the self-checkout. Despite there being hundreds of cameras in the sky at Walmart, people still attempt to swipe goods with smooth hand tricks at the self-checkout. The problem is that Walmart has no mercy. Let’s say Tiffany accidentally put an item in her bag that didn’t ring up, watch out because Walmart is going to walk her to the back. Once she gets to the back room, she explains that she didn’t mean to not swipe the items because she was distracted because her 2-year-old wouldn’t stop crying. She said she paid for $200 worth of items, why would she not pay for the remaining items. She even offers to pay for the items but they decline leniency. They call the Sheriff to come over and give her a summons. This is a misdemeanor theft since the value of the items is less than $1000. This is where many people go wrong. They figure, “oh it’s just a ticket, I’ll go to court and pay it like a speeding ticket.” Wrong. This is a criminal charge punishable by up to 6 months in jail. You were given a ticket instead of being booked in jail because Louisiana has serious jail overcrowding issues. You will have court dates in criminal case alongside those charged with armed robbery and murder. Not to mention that you’ll now have a theft on your criminal background for the world to see if it is not properly handled in court.
Like I said earlier, the difference between misdemeanor theft and felony theft is the value of the alleged stolen property. If the value of the alleged stolen item is less than $1000, then the charge should be a misdemeanor theft. The difference is important because the value determines the sentencing range if found guilty. Misdemeanor theft carries a sentence of up to 6 months in jail, while felony theft when misappropriation or taking amounts to a value of $1000 or more, but less than a value of $5000, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than 5 years, or may be fined not more than $3000, or both. If the value is $5000 or more, but less than a value of $25,000, the sentencing range is 0-10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. When the value of the item is $25,000 or more, the sentencing range is 0-20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $50,000. In any theft case, the prosecutor must be able to prove the value of the item. If he can only prove the item is worth less than $1000, then the theft charge should be a misdemeanor theft.
Be Smart – Get Help
I hope this article helps you understand theft and the statute a little bit better. Please keep in mind one thing…just because you did it doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. We are criminal defense attorneys. Our job is to help people get the best result no matter what they did and no matter how bad the facts are against them. The bottom line is that we like to help people that need it the most. We supply the power and strength needed to stand up against the police and the prosecutors that are teaming up to push you around. If you’ve been charged with theft in Louisiana and need to hire a lawyer, feel free to give us a call. We have offices all throughout Louisiana so we are always close by.