Tunica, MS Shoplifting Charge Attorney
Mississippi, as with most states, has fairly broad theft statutes which cover many levels of criminal conducts involving the misuse of another’s property. Shoplifting is generally at the low end of the spectrum, however it is important to understand that—depending on the value of the merchandise taken as well as whether there are any past shoplifting convictions in your past—the criminal penalties associated with a Tunica County shoplifting conviction can be very severe. Perhaps you were caught shoplifting at the Tunica outlets, or at a retail store in the area such as Wal-Mart, Target or Sears.
Most people who shoplift did not actually go to the store with that goal in mind. A significant amount of those who shoplift, do so for financial reasons—they simply can’t afford the things they need for their family. Others may have simply shoplifted on impulse, and still others may have actually forgotten to pay for an item, and had no intention of shoplifting. Whatever the circumstances surrounding your Tunica, MS arrest for shoplifting, the attorneys at Stroud, Flechas & Dalton understand that good people make bad choices from time to time, and that one bad decision should not define the remainder of your life.
Can I be convicted of shoplifting when I never left the store with the merchandise?
What Constitutes Mississippi Shoplifting?
Willfully taking possession of merchandise without paying for that merchandise is considered shoplifting in the state of Mississippi. If you engaged in any of the following behaviors, you may be guilty of violating Mississippi statutes regarding shoplifting:
- You knowingly concealed merchandise you had not yet paid for
- You knowingly removed merchandise from the store you had not yet paid for
- You switched price tags on merchandise you had not yet paid for
- You removed an electronic surveillance device from merchandise you had not yet paid for
- You transferred merchandise you had not yet paid for from one container to another
- You caused the cash register to reflect a lower price than the stated price for un purchased merchandise
The Consequences of a Tunica Shoplifting Conviction
Even a misdemeanor Tunica County shoplifting conviction can result in a number of very unpleasant, far-reaching consequences which can change your life. You should not make the mistake of thinking a misdemeanor shoplifting charge is not a very serious matter. Theft convictions, such as shoplifting, are considered to be crimes of “moral turpitude,” meaning they are the sort of crime which reflects the character of a person. No matter what level of Tunica shoplifting charges you are facing, a conviction could mean you now have a criminal record, even if you are given probation rather than jail time. The technology available today virtually ensures that most all employers will conduct a background check prior to hiring. A conviction for theft—whether misdemeanor or felony—can make it very difficult for you to obtain employment for the remainder of your life.
A Tunica County, MS shoplifting conviction can not only affect your future employment, but can also land you in prison for up to twenty years should you be charged with felony shoplifting. If the item shoplifted is worth $1,000 or less, the crime is considered a misdemeanor, and can result in one year of probation and a $1,000 fine if it is a first-time offense. Penalties for shoplifting an item worth more than $1,000 can range from 5 years in state prison and a fine as large as $10,000, all the way up to 20 years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000. A third conviction for shoplifting an item worth $1,000 or less can bring a three-year prison sentence. As you can see, the penalties for the entire range of theft charges are extremely serious and potentially life-altering.
The Importance of Obtaining Experienced Legal Counsel
There is no substitute for hiring the most experienced Tunica, MS criminal defense attorney you can, to represent you and make sure your rights are fully protected. A knowledgeable attorney knows how to cover all the bases as soon as possible, giving you a solid defense. Your attorney will interview potential witnesses and will conduct interviews with the alleged victim. He will make early contact with the prosecutor, hopefully before formal charges have been filed.
Of course your attorney will seek to have the case dismissed, but if that is not possible he or she will ensure you have the most aggressive trial defense possible. Whatever you do, don’t dismiss your Tunica County, MS shoplifting charges as insignificant or take them lightly. These are extremely serious charges, so speak with an attorney from Stroud, Flechas & Dalton as soon as possible after you have been charged. Hiring an attorney from Stroud, Flechas & Dalton is the best way to protect your future and allow you to return to your life without serious and far-reaching consequences. Don’t wait—call (662) 536-5656 now.