Charges of theft cover a wide range of possible actions, from a low-level misunderstanding to high-level fraud. What all of these cases have in common is that conviction will, at minimum, damage a person’s record and ability to get employment and housing. At worst, conviction can mean long prison stays and steep fines. The Baton Rouge theft lawyers at Beall & Thies want to be sure that defendants get fair treatment and the vigorous defense that the American justice system promises.
What Is Theft?
Theft is one of three criminal offenses that are often used interchangeably, but are in fact different. Theft charges involve the taking of someone else’s property. Burglary does not involve the actual taking of anything, but refers strictly to unauthorized entry into someone else’s property. Robbery, while involving the stealing of property, must also include the use of force or a credible threat to do so.
The three charges can often overlap. A defendant charged with going into a store with a gun and stealing money can face charges on both theft and robbery. If they went into the store after-hours, burglary could be added to the list. That’s to say nothing of the weapons charges that using the gun might bring.
But each charge is brought individually and each one has different sentencing structures. Burglary convictions require at least 1 year in jail and potentially as many as 12. Conviction on a robbery charge can mean anywhere from 10 to 99 years in jail.
Theft, because it covers so many possible situations, is more wide-ranging. A person might be accused of theft if they still have a neighbor’s power tools in their garage after borrowing them. Theft charges could result if a person is believed to have taken valuable jewelry while at a house party. Or a person might be charged with theft if it’s believed they embezzled corporate money.
The potential sentence will depend on the value of the item stolen. The guidelines in Louisiana are as follows…
- If the property in question is valued at $1,000 or less, this is a misdemeanor offense. The maximum penalty is six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
- Now we’re in felony territory and the first level is property valued anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. The maximum prison sentence is five years.
- If a person is convicted of taking property valued from $5,000 to $25,000, a judge is authorized to sentence them to as many as 10 years behind bars .
- Property up and over $25,000 means a convicted defendant could go away for as long as 20 years
Given the gravity of what the legal system can do, a defendant should waste no time in contacting a Baton Rouge theft attorneys.
Experienced Lawyers You Can Trust
Beall & Thies has fought for defendants in the Baton Rouge area for over 20 years. Our attorneys individually have over 100 years of combined experience. We don’t back down from a District Attorney and we understand what’s necessary to protect our clients. Let us fight for you next.
Beall & Thies understands how to investigate a case and craft a defense strategy. We know when it’s time to plea bargain and when to go all-out for acquittal. Contact us today at (225) 577-6223 or fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation.
The strategy adopted will be tailored to the individual circumstances of the case, but there are some general approaches that might be used for the defense.
One possible defense is that intimidation was involved. Was someone pressured to rob a store or to commit insurance fraud? For this defense to be valid, the jury must believe that the threats the defendant faced were credible and that the response—to commit a theft crime—was reasonable.
For example, a defendant that says they were threatened with the loss of a job if they didn’t help the CEO embezzle $5 million might have a tough time making that defense stick. But the defendant whose family was threatened? Now, there might be a case. The credibility of the threat, its severity, and how much was involved in the theft, are all factors a Baton Rouge theft lawyer can use to make a case to the jury.
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Russell W. Beall
"Russell W. Beall is a founding partner in the Baton Rouge law firm of Beall & Thies LLC. His main emphasis of practice is on Civil Litigation including Torts, Products Liability, and Premises Liability. Russell is a frequent guest speaker at Louisiana State University Law School where he participates in the Appellate Advocacy Program and the Professionalism Orientation. He earned his B.A. degree at Louisiana State University (1998) and his J.D Louisiana State University Law School (2001). Russell is an active member of the Louisiana Association for Justice and is frequently invited to be a guest speaker at continuing legal education seminars."Read Full Bio
William W. Thies
"William W. Thies was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1974 moving with his family to Slidell, Louisiana at seven years of age. Mr. Thies graduated from Slidell High School in 1992. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in history and political science from Louisiana State University in 1996 and his Juris Doctorate from the Southern University Law Center in 2001. He was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in May 2002. He is a member of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, American Bar Associations, and the Louisiana Association of Justice. He is admitted to practice in all state courts, the United States District Court for the Middle and Eastern Districts of Louisiana, as well as the United States Supreme Court."Read Full Bio
"Jacob H. Thomas is originally from the Piney Hills of North Louisiana, known for producing great litigators such as Huey P. Long as well as several other notable statesmen on the both the federal and state levels.Read Full Bio
Jake is a graduate of Jonesboro-Hodge High School and Northwestern State University where he was a member of the Theta Mu chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, the NSU Presidential Leadership Program, and the Inter-Fraternity Council serving as Vice President."
"Aaron Humphreys joined Beall & Thies, LLC as an associate attorney in the fall of 2016. He was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in May of 2016. Aaron is also a member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association and the Louisiana Association of Justice."Read Full Bio
"George G. Caballero practices general civil law and focuses on plaintiff’s personal injury, wills, and successions. George joined Beall & Thies as of counsel in 2017 after starting Caballero Law Firm in 1993. Mr. Caballero has over thirty years of experience as an attorney and has served clients in various matters ranging from business and tort litigation, business, family law, and successions.Read Full Bio
Mr. Caballero is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Mississippi College School of Law. Upon graduation, he immediately went into the private practice of law, practicing in both Louisiana and Mississippi."
Jewel “Trae” E. Welch, III
"Trae is a lifelong resident of the Baker-Zachary area. Trae is the son of The Honorable Judge Duke Welch, currently presiding on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals, and former East Baton Rouge Councilwoman, Roxson Welch. Trae is married to the former Lynn Caldwell of Tallulah, Louisiana. Together Trae and Lynn are raising their two children Quade and Vivian."Read Full Bio