In my 20 years as a Louisiana criminal defense attorney and public defender, I have handled all types of criminal charges. One of the first questions I hear from clients is — what is my prison sentence if I’m convicted? I have listed below the minimum and maximum prison sentences in Louisiana for theft crimes. Generally speaking, theft that involves the use of force or a weapon increases the prison sentence exposure. So, for example, if someone steals a purse that a woman is holding, the prison sentence would be greater than if the woman put down the purse and walked away. In this instance, the crime would be theft rather than purse snatching and the potential prison sentence would be smaller because no force or intimidation was involved.
- Armed Robbery – This is taking something of value from another person by use of force or intimidation while armed with a dangerous weapon. The weapon does not necessarily need to be a gun – it can be any object that is used to intimidate — a knife, for example, would be sufficient. This crime carries a minimum sentence of 10 years to a maximum of 99 years –meaning that if you are convicted of the crime, the minimum sentence you will receive is 10 years but it could possibly be more. If a firearm is used during the robbery, there is the potential for an additional 5 years of prison time. In this situation, the potential maximum prison sentence is 104 years.
- First Degree Robbery – The taking of something of value when the offender does not have a weapon, but leads the victim to believe that they do have a weapon. This crime carries a minimum of 3 years to a maximum of 40 years.
- Simple Robbery – Taking something of value by use of force or intimidation, but not armed with a dangerous weapon. An example would be if the offender reaches over the counter at a convenience store and takes money from the cash register. This crime carries a prison exposure of 0 to 7 years.
- Carjacking – Taking a motor vehicle by use of force or intimidation. There does not need to be a weapon involved. Exposure on this crime is 2 – 20 years.
- Purse Snatching – Theft of anything of value from a purse or wallet when, at the time of the theft, the victim has immediate control of the purse and the purse is taken by force and intimidation but the offender is not armed with a dangerous weapon. Prison exposure is 2 – 20 years.
- Theft – Taking anything of value which belongs to another, either without their consent or by means of fraudulent conduct. There must be an intent to deprive the other person permanently of the item. So, for example, if you walk into your neighbor’s garage and take their lawnmower and put in your garage to use one time, it would not be theft. Theft, unlike the other crimes mentioned above, carries a prison exposure based on the value of the item taken. If the value is $500 or more, the exposure is 0 – 10 years. When the value is $300 – $500, the exposure is 0 – 2 years. If the value is less than $300, the charge becomes a misdemeanor and the exposure is 0 – 6 months. UPDATE: As of 8/1/2014, the amounts have increased. It is now: If the value of the item(s) taken is $1,500 ore more, the exposure is 0-10 years, if the value is $500 and up to $1,500, the exposure is 0-2 years and if the value is under $500, the exposure is 0-6 months.
If you have been arrested for a theft or robbery charge in Louisiana, please call my Lafayette, Louisiana criminal defense law office at (337) 704-2615 to see how we can help you. Based on your specific charge and the facts of your case, we can develop a defense strategy for you. Initial consultation is always free.