Some people may think that a shoplifting charge is not particularly serious in nature. But make no mistake, if you are arrested for shoplifting, you could not only face a hefty fine but depending on the value of what was allegedly lifted, you may face imprisonment as well. In addition, you will have the arrest and conviction on your record, which could have a profound impact on your future.
Under Louisiana law, shoplifting is classified as type theft. Theft involves misappropriating or taking something of value from another party without that party's consent. An essential element of theft is the intent to permanently deprive the other party of the benefits of that which was taken. In other words, shoplifting is taking an item without the consent of a merchant, with the intent of keeping the item, thus permanently depriving the merchant of the opportunity to sell or use the item.
The severity of penalties for shoplifting coincides with the value of that which was taken or misappropriated. If the item or items are valued at a total less than $300, then a conviction could result in as much as six months of imprisonment and a fine of up $1,000.
For the theft of items totaling more than $300 but less than $500 in value, the penalties increase to as much as two years imprisonment and a $2,000 fine. And for thefts of items valued at a total of $500 or more, a defendant could receive a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $3,000.
Clearly, shoplifting charges are not something to take lightly. Unfortunately, many people do not realize this until after being arrested. If you or a family member is facing charges for shoplifting, a Louisiana criminal defense attorney may be able to offer you advice on how to best navigate the legal system so as to achieve your best possible outcome.