What are the laws

What are the laws

Simple criminal damage to property: the intentional damaging of any property of another party, without their consent, by any means other than fire or explosion. This law also applies to the intentional damaging of any structure used as a home or residence.

Aggravated criminal damage to property: the intentional damaging of any structure or movable property, with the foreseeability that human life could be endangered.

Criminal damage to property by defacing with graffiti: to intentionally deface immovable or movable property with graffiti without the consent of the owner.

Criminal damage to historic buildings or landmarks by defacing with graffiti: the offender intentionally defaces any publicly or privately owned historic building or landmark with graffiti, without the consent of the owner. A historic building or landmark is defined as property specifically designated as historically significant by: a state or local governmental agency; any structure located within a National Register Historic District; a local historic district; a Main Street District; a cultural products district; or a downtown development district.

Damage to property with intent to defraud: a crime that only involves property being damaged with the intent to defraud. This is the only property damage crime that does not require a prosecutor to prove that an alleged offender intentionally damaged property.

Criminal trespass: the offender enters any structure, watercraft, or movable or immovable property owned by another party without express, legal, or implied authorization.

What are the penalties

Simple criminal damage to property:
Penalties will depend on the amount of damage that was caused.
When the damage is less than $1,000,

  • a person can be fined up to $1,000 and/or
  • imprisoned for up to six months.
  • If the damage is $1,000 or more but less than $50,000,
  • the alleged offender can be fined up to $1,000 and/or
  • imprisoned with or without hard labor for up to two years.
Damage amounting to $50,000 or more can result
  • in a fine of up to $10,000 and/or
  • Imprisonment, with or without hard labor, for a minimum of one year to 10 years.
  • A person convicted of simple criminal damage to property can be ordered to make full restitution to the owner of the property.

    Aggravated criminal damage to property:
  • Punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or
  • A minimum of one year to 15 years imprisonment.
  • Criminal damage to property by defacing with graffiti:
    Penalties will depend on the amount of damage that was caused.
    An offense causing less than $500 in damage is punishable by
  • a fine of up to $500 and/or
  • up to six months imprisonment
  • An offense causing more than $500 but less than $50,000 in damage is punishable by
  • a fine of up to $1,000 and/or
  • up to two years imprisonment, with or without hard labor
  • An offense causing $50,000 or more in property damage is punishable by
  • a fine of up to $10,000 and/or
  • imprisonment, with or without hard labor, for a minimum of one year to 10 years.
  • The court can also order an alleged offender to clean up, repair, or replace any property damaged by the act or pay restitution to the owner of the damaged property.

    Criminal damage to historic buildings or landmarks by defacing with graffiti:
    Convictions are punishable by
  • fines of up to $1,000 and/or
  • up to two years imprisonment, with or without hard labor.
  • The court will also order
  • for a first conviction - the alleged offender to perform up to 32 hours of community service over a period of up to 180 days; and,
  • for a second or subsequent conviction - the alleged offender to perform up to 64 hours of community service over a period of up to 180 days
  • Damage to property with intent to defraud:
  • Punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or
  • up to four years imprisonment, with or without hard labor.
  • Criminal trespass:
  • First conviction is punishable by a minimum fine of $100 up to $500 and/or up to 30 days imprisonment,
  • Second conviction is punishable by a minimum fine of $300 up to $750 and/or up to 90 days imprisonment, and
  • Third or subsequent conviction is punishable by a minimum fine of $500 up to $1,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment.
  • Defending Against Crimes Against Property

    In Louisiana, most criminal damage to property crimes involve proving the intentions of the offender. It is extremely difficult for a prosecutor to prove what a person was thinking at the time of the offense. Their case will usually rely on the eyewitness testimony of other parties.

    There are various, viable defenses that can be utilized if the intent to damage the property in question was unintentional. For example, one's temper may have been momentarily lost or the offender may not have realized their own strength. Both scenarios could successfully cause a criminal conviction to be avoided.

    If you or a loved one was recently arrested for a criminal damage to property crime in the greater Shreveport-Bossier area, The Norris Law Group can fight for you. It is important to refrain from speaking with law enforcement until legal representation has been obtained.

    Call (318) 771-7000 or contact us online right now to get your own confidential consultation.

    Sources

    La. R.S. 14:56(1).
    La. R.S. 14:56(2).
    La. R.S. 14:55.
    La. R.S. 14:56.4.
    La. R.S. 14:56.5.
    La. R.S. 14:56.5.B.(3).
    La. R.S. 14:57.
    La. R.S. 14:63.
    La. R.S. 14:56.B.(4).