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A shoplifting charge can change the course of your life forever. While it may seem minor, it can remain on your criminal record and keep you from living your life to its full potential. The criminal charge will remain on your record until you have it expunged, regardless of the outcome of your case. 

It’s important to take your shoplifting charge seriously by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. For over 25 years, Michael J. Vergis and his legal team have represented their Shreveport-Bossier neighbors against theft charges, personal injury claims, and more. Our law firm understands the consequences of a stolen item charge and how it can affect you for the rest of your life. We will aggressively advocate for you and make sure you obtain the best outcome from your case. Or, if you’ve already been convicted, served prison time, and/or paid fines, our law firm will help you expunge a misdemeanor or felony charge from your record to have a fresh start.

To review your shoplifting case with one of our experienced Shreveport/Bossier City criminal defense attorneys today, call our law firm at (318) 698-3724. You can also fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Shreveport Shoplifting Defense Attorney

Louisiana Shoplifting Laws

Shoplifting laws in Louisiana fall under Louisiana Revised Statute 14:67. Under RS 14:67, theft is considered “the misappropriation or taking or anything of value which belongs to another, either without the consent of the other…or through fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations. The intent to deprive the other permanently (of the stolen property) is essential.” 

Shoplifting is classified as a misdemeanor if the alleged value is under $1,000. To be charged with a felony, the amount of the item must exceed $1,000. If a person is caught shoplifting items such as firearms or explosives, the shoplifting charges are automatically considered a felony charge regardless of whether the item’s value is under $1,000. 

In addition to facing penalties for shoplifting, whether the charge was a misdemeanor or felony, the merchant of where the property was stolen from can sue the shoplifter in civil court. 

What are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Louisiana?

The penalties for shoplifting will vary depending on the degree of the theft offense. Below, we’ll compare misdemeanor and felony shoplifting charges in Louisiana. 

  • Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is the lesser theft offense in Louisiana. To be a misdemeanor in Louisiana, the property stolen must have a value of $1,000 or less. However, if the accused has two or more prior theft convictions, the misdemeanor will become a felony theft charge. For individuals with a first-time misdemeanor theft charge, the sentence in Louisiana is no more than a $1,000 fine and/or six months in jail. 
  • Felony: To be considered a felony theft, the property must be more than $1,000. For first-time felony offenders, the charges are as follows:
    • Property valued between $1,000 and $5,000: Up to five years in prison, a $3,000 fine, or both.
    • Property worth $5,000 but less than $25,000: 10-year maximum prison sentence, $10,000 fine, or both.
    • Property valued at $25,000 or more: 20-year maximum prison sentence, a $50,000 fine, or both.

When theft charges involve violence or the threat of violence or the use or threat of a deadly weapon, the penalties are much more severe.

It doesn’t matter if this is your first criminal offense; shoplifting is not something to take lightly. It’s important to contact an experienced theft lawyer to assist with your criminal defense. Contact a Shreveport/Bossier City theft attorney at our firm today if you’ve been charged with shoplifting. 

Shreveport Shoplifting Defense Lawyer

How Long Does Shoplifting Stay on Your Record?

Your shoplifting charge will remain on your criminal record until you get it expunged. Many people may not know that even if your theft case resulted in a dismissal, the charge will remain on your criminal record. While a shoplifting charge may not seem like much, a theft conviction can affect your job, living situation, and other future opportunities, especially those that rely on background checks. 

Can Shoplifting Be Expunged?

If you’ve been acquitted of your shoplifting charges or the charge was dismissed, you can immediately file an expungement application. However, if you served jail time and/or paid the fine, you must wait to apply for expungement. If you paid the penalty for shoplifting, you must wait six months to file the expungement application. If you served jail time and/or paid the fine, you must wait two years to file the expungement application.  

The court must approve your application to expungement your criminal record. This process includes completing the necessary court forms, a background check, and a fee of $550. The $550 does not include attorney fees. 

If you were caught shoplifting and it resulted in a criminal conviction, it can be very beneficial to seek expungement. Working with a qualified Bossier City expungement attorney can help during this process so you can ensure that you’re following the proper steps to have your crime expunged.

Shreveport Shoplifting Defense Lawyers

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Shreveport Shoplifting Charges

Hiring an experienced attorney is critical when you’re facing a shoplifting charge. Whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony case, an attorney can help you avoid the maximum sentence. In order to have the best possible outcome from your shoplifting charge, it’s important to hire a criminal defense attorney from the beginning. The Law Office of Michael J. Vergis is ready to fight your shoplifting charge and help you avoid prison time.

Facing Shoplifting Charges in Shreveport/Bossier City? Call Experienced Louisiana Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J. Vergis Today

Although you may think a shoplifting charge is minor and doesn’t require the help of an attorney, it can make all the difference in the world. An attorney can help you fight your accusation and avoid the maximum sentence, thus helping you get your life back on track. When you’re facing a shoplifting conviction, don’t wait. Contact The Law Office of Michael J. Vergis as soon as you’re charged with shoplifting. Our law firm will help you from the beginning by building a solid defense to give you the best possible outcome.

Not only does our law firm represent theft cases, but we also provide legal representation for personal injury cases, family law matters, and other criminal cases for residents in the Shreveport-Bossier area. No matter your legal obstacle, The Law Office of Michael J. Vergis is ready to help. Call us today at (318) 698-3724 or complete our online form to learn more.