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Shoplifting a misdemeanor in Louisiana

Shoplifting is a major concern today in Louisiana. It makes prices go up for everyone while it benefits only the few who get away with it. People who steal from stores come from all corners of the earth. They are of every race, sex, age, gender and economic background.

There are two types of shoplifters: professional and amateur thieves. Professionals generally only take expensive items like watches, jewelry and clothing that can be resold easily. Amateurs don't really start out their day deciding to shoplift. They see an opportunity to take something and they do.

Sometimes, you may be with a friend who takes something from a store and you are an innocent bystander. You may be caught with that friend and charges as an accessory or even as a shoplifter, too, if the friend conveniently placed the items in your bag.

The public assumes that shoplifters have a mental problem that makes them believe that they have to have these items to survive. In reality, kleptomania is not prevalent in the U.S. Most people who steal know it is wrong and have the money in their pocket to pay for the items they took.

Teenagers are the largest population of shoplifters. They don't realize how seriously retailers take this crime. Peer pressure comes into it. In order to fit into the group, they go through a time when they may feel it is necessary for them to take items that aren't theirs. They may take items that others in school have and they cannot afford. They do this to fit in.

Getting accused of this crime can lead to serious repercussions. You could be arrested and face charges of "theft of goods." In Louisiana, it is considered a misdemeanor and it depends on the cost of the items stolen. If it is less than $500 and you have never done this before, you will face a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail.

If you have been charged with shoplifting, the penalty is pretty large. Calling in an experienced attorney who can mitigate these charges can only be a good thing.

Source: Kids Health, "Shoplifting," accessed May. 28, 2015

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