Shoplifting and other theft crime convictions can leave people with criminal records, jail time and expensive fines. In most cases, shoplifting happens when a person commits and act of theft at a retail establishment. Shoplifting isn’t a criminal charge that a lot of people take seriously. It’s usually non-violent, and it’s often associated with juveniles and teenagers. That being said, shoplifting is still a criminal charge, and it does need to be taken seriously. If convicted of shoplifting, you could be facing six months, or even a year or more behind bars, depending upon the circumstances of your individual case. If you, your child or another loved one is facing shoplifting charges, you need to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case.
What If I Didn’t Leave the Store?
Many people want to know if shoplifting charges and convictions can be brought against them even if they didn’t leave the store grounds with the merchandise. In the State of Mississippi, one doesn’t actually need to leave the store in order to charged, arrested or even convicted of shoplifting. Depending upon the unique circumstances of your case, you could be looking at shoplifting charges whether you walked out of the store or not. This is especially true if you’re being accused of concealing merchandise that you haven’t paid for. Additionally, if you’re caught taking price tags or electronic devices off of the merchandise, you can also expect to face shoplifting charges.
What Actions Count as Shoplifting?
In the State of Mississippi, shoplifting isn’t limited simply to people who walk out of stores with merchandise they haven’t paid for, although that certainly counts as shoplifting. A variety of behaviors involving unpaid for merchandise can be considered shoplifting. Under M.C.A. 97-23-93, any person who shall willfully and unlawfully take possession of any merchandise owned or held by and offered or displayed for sale by any merchant, store or other mercantile establishment with the intention and purpose of converting such merchandise to his own use without paying the merchant’s state price therefore shall be guilty of the crime of shoplifting and, upon conviction, shall be punished as is provided in this section.
Shoplifting in Mississippi
- Concealing merchandise you haven’t paid for
- Removing merchandise from the store that you haven’t paid for
- Altering or removing any price stickers or theft-deterrent devices
- Moving unpaid for merchandise from one container to another
- Altering a cash register entry to reflect less than the stated price of the merchandise
Penalties Associated With Shoplifting in Mississippi
Depending upon the amount of value associated with your alleged shoplifting and whether or not it is your first, second or subsequent offence, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony charges. If this is your first offense and the value of the merchandise is less than or equal to $1,000.00, you’re looking at misdemeanor charges. This means you could spend up to six months in jail, time served in the community or up to $1,000.00 in fines. If the merchandise in question is worth more than $1,000.00 or if you’re looking at subsequent charges, you could be facing felony charges. This means that you could spend a minimum of one year in a correctional facility, in addition to fines.
What About Accidentally Leaving the Store?
Nobody should have to be arrested or convicted of a crime he or she didn’t commit. Where shoplifting is concerned, intent is a necessary element. If you accidentally left the store without paying for an item, you shouldn’t have to go to jail. An accident is an accident. If this happened to you, let your criminal defense lawyer know immediately. We’ve all nearly done this at one time or another. Perhaps, a cashier didn’t ring in an item in the bottom of your grocery cart, or your toddler grabbed something without you noticing and you walked right out of the store with it. No matter what the mix-up was, let your lawyer know.
Jackson Shoplifting Lawyer
In addition to jail time, fines, probation and other penalties associated with a shoplifting conviction, you also have to deal with the stigma associated with theft crimes. Nobody wants to hire a person with a theft crime conviction in their past. It can be very difficult to get on with your life after a shoplifting conviction. Getting in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest is critical to ensuring the best possible outcome in your case.
If you or somebody you love is facing shoplifting charges in Jackson or anywhere around the Metro Area, contact the skilled and proven criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation.
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