Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys Defend those Facing Shoplifting Charges in Mississippi
Defending those accused of crime in Southaven, Hernando and Olive Branch for more than 50 years
A group of young girls hanging out at the local department store challenge each other to see who can get away with taking an item without paying for it. However, their actions have been recorded on the store’s video surveillance cameras, and they get caught shoplifting by the store’s loss prevention officer as they try to leave the store.
While some might view shoplifting as insignificant, it is still stealing. It is a serious crime in Mississippi which is punishable by significant fines, possible jail time and a potential civil suit by the shop owner to recover damages.
The legal team at Taylor Jones Taylor knows the potential damage a shoplifting conviction can have on your life. The firm’s experienced criminal defense attorneys develop solid strategies on behalf of the accused in Southaven, Hernando and Olive Branch and throughout Mississippi, designed to defend your rights and protect your reputation.
Understanding Mississippi’s shoplifting laws
Mississippi defines the crime of shoplifting as “willfully taking possession of merchandise without paying for it.” In order to be charged with shoplifting, a person must be found to have:
- Concealed unpurchased merchandise
- Removed unpurchased merchandise from a store
- Altered prices or removed electronic surveillance on unpurchased merchandise
- Transferred the unpurchased merchandise from one container to another
- Caused the cash register to reflect less than the merchant’s stated price for the unpurchased merchandise
In the summer of 2014, the Mississippi legislature passed criminal justice reform in the form of House Bill 585, which made some changes to the shoplifting law. Previously, if the item stolen was worth less than $500, it was a misdemeanor with a potential six month jail sentence. If the item stolen was worth $500 or more, it became a felony with a penalty of up to 10 years in state prison.
HB 585 raised the threshold from $500 to $1000 worth of merchandise before the crime would be considered a felony. The penalty for felony shoplifting is now the same as for grand larceny, which ranges from 5 years in state prison and up to a $10,000 fine to up to 20 years in prison and a fine of not more than $10,000.
A first time shoplifting offense is a misdemeanor, which carries a $1000 fine, one year of probation or both. For serial shoplifters, previously if an individual was convicted three times for shoplifting within a five year period, the third conviction became a felony, with a possible five year state prison sentence. Now, the third offense has a three year prison sentence.
Civil liability for shoplifters
Adult shoplifters and the parents of minor shoplifters have a civil liability to the merchants from whom they stole merchandise. A merchant can bring a lawsuit against a shoplifter in civil court and he or she is entitled to twice the actual amount of the damages sustained as restitution.
The attorneys at Taylor Jones Taylor understand that sometimes people make choices that they regret later. The firm’s criminal defense team does not judge you. Rather, they get to work building a solid case, preserving your rights and protecting your future.
Contact a hard-working criminal defense attorney to handle your shoplifting charges
Taylor Jones Taylor has successfully represented clients facing first time and subsequent shoplifting charges throughout Mississippi. A shoplifting conviction can ruin your future. You are welcome to call Taylor Jones Taylor at 662-342-1300 or fill out this contact form to schedule a consultation with an attorney in the Southaven, Hernando or Olive Branch office. How can we make your life better today?