need help? 337-480-0101

Crimes Against Property / Theft Charges

When facing a property crime or a theft charge, there are several variables that can determine the fate of your case. For example, crimes that damage property or deal with theft all have one main thing in common: they all have understandably upset victims who want to be made whole for their injustice. This factor plays a large role in the minds of a prosecutor, specifically when considering sentencing and penalty options.

To simplify: in Louisiana, Criminal Damage to Property can be broken down into two separate offenses: simple and aggravated.

  • Simple Criminal Damage to Property—the intentional damage to any property without the owner’s consent (this does not include damage by fire or explosions)
    • Penalty (for damage less than $500): Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or jail time of six months, or both;
    • Penalty (for damage between $500 to $49,999): Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or maximum jail time of two years, or both;
    • Penalty (for damage between $50,000 or more): Maximum fines up to $10,000 and/or maximum jail time between one to ten years, or both;
  • Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property—the intentional damage to any property, watercraft, or movable where human life might be endangered (this does not include fire or explosions)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $10,000 and/or maximum jail time between one to fifteen years, or both;

NOTE: Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property is one of the crimes that is labeled under Louisiana Law as a “crime of violence” and thus never allowed to be expunged. This can be a terrible consequence for someone who might take a plea deal and not know of this hidden consequence. One would normally not think of a property crime being classified this way, however this again shows the importance of having a skilled attorney at your side.

THEFT

Similar to the property crimes detailed above, theft charges—and their consequences—can also be categorized by the value that has been allegedly stolen. Theft, according to Louisiana law, is the “misappropriation or taking of anything of value which belongs to another.” Therefore, if you find yourself charged with theft in Louisiana, some of the most common charges are:

  • Misdemeanor Theft of Goods under $750 (Shoplifting)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or maximum jail time of six months, or both;

NOTE: misdemeanor theft is one of the more common theft crimes committed, yet most people don’t know the most dangerous part of a misdemeanor theft conviction: it is enhanceable. That simply means: the more times you do it, the worse it gets. For example, you could steal a pack of gum three times and be considered a felon. It’s not the amount – it’s the pattern of behavior that can lead to an increased vulnerability in your exposure to harsher penalties. This increased exposure is why the hiring of an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential to avoid the very serious consequences of a possible felony conviction.

  • Felony Theft (between $750-$4,999)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $3,000 and/or maximum jail time of five years, or both;
  • Felony Theft (between $5,000-$24,999)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $10,000 and/or jail time of ten years, or both;
  • Felony Theft ($25,000 or more)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $25,000 and/or jail time between five to twenty years, or both;
  • Misdemeanor Illegal Possession of Stolen Things (under $500)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $1,000 and/or maximum jail time of six months, or both; (this penalty only applies to first time Illegal Possession of Stolen Things offenders)
  • Felony Illegal Possession of Stolen Things (between $500 – $1,499)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $2,000 and/or maximum jail time of five years, or both;
  • Felony Illegal Possession of Stolen Things ($1,500 or more)
    • Penalty: Maximum fines up to $3,000 and/or maximum jail time of ten years;

BURGLARY

Burglary is defined as “the unauthorized entering of any dwelling, vehicle, watercraft, or other structure, movable or immovable, or any cemetery, with the intent to commit a felony or any theft therein.” The law further details specific penalties if the structure is a: pharmacy, place of business, inhabited dwelling or “home”, or a religious building.

Normally, if you are simply in an area that you do not belong you might be charged with: unauthorized entry or criminal trespass. However, those charges can quickly change to felony burglary charges if law enforcement or prosecutors have reason to believe you intended to commit or theft or any other felony while in those unauthorized places.

 

It is imperative to get skilled representation on your behalf, to explain your side of the story to prevent charges from unnecessarily escalating. Let our firm, with experienced attorneys and professional staff, represent you in giving your case the best legal outcome possible.

ARSON

Another common criminal offense that falls under the Crimes Against Property & Theft Charges is arson. Arson, as defined by Louisiana law, is:

  1. “The intentional damaging by any explosive substance or the setting fire to any property of another without the consent of the owner”;
  2. “The starting of a fire or causing an explosion while the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of another felony offense even though the offender does not have the intent to start a fire or cause an explosion.”

Arson crimes vary widely: injury by arson, simple arson, arson with intent to defraud or the false communication of a planned arson. While arson crimes are rare, they do carry very serious penalties and anyone accused of the crime will need the steady hand of a skilled defense attorney to ensure that their future and livelihood are not sacrificed.

While we never guarantee outcomes, because each case is so different and unique, we have seen much success over time in aggressively defending our clients. Those results include lesser jail sentences, probation in lieu of jail time, reduced conditions and time on probation, deferred adjudication and diversion of charges, and even outright dismissal of charges. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed by anyone, but at Sudduth and Associates, we pride ourselves on guaranteeing to our clients our heart, our passion, and our every effort.

Having the experienced team of paralegals, investigators, and attorneys at Sudduth & Associates, LLC on your side is invaluable to you receiving the best possible outcome. Call us today to see how we can help you level the playing field to get the best possible outcome in your case!

Client Intake Forms