What are shoplifting laws in Mississippi
The growth of departmental store chains like Walmart, Target, Marks, and Spencer, Kohl’s, etc. has given rise to multiple incidences of shoplifting across the USA and the state of Mississippi is no exception to that. The criminal psychology terms shoplifting as an addiction which most of the time starts in the teenage years as a thrill-seeking experience. Today, on average, there are 550,000 shoplifting incidents happen per day across the USA.
Every year, more than 13 billion dollars worth of goods are stolen from retailers. That’s more than 35 million dollars per day. Groceries, cosmetics, clothing, and electronic items are the most common merchandise stolen from the shops. Even after acting numerous laws and adequate law enforcement forces, there seems to be no end to the cases of shoplifting.
The state of Mississippi changed the laws to make them more stringent to keep a check on shoplifting a few years back. The criminal justice reform bill that was passed by Mississippi’s legislature came into effect in July 2014. Here are some of the highlights of what the law says with regard to the crime of shoplifting.
Definition of Shoplifting
Mississippi law defines shoplifting as taking procession of any merchandise displayed, held, offered or owned by the stores or the merchant, without paying the displayed price on the merchandise.
The law categorically states that if a person removes, changes the price tag, conceals, alters, transfers or causes the product or merchandise to show low price at the cash counter is considered as shoplifting.
The Mississippi law has provided clear guidelines to punish an offender of shoplifting. If a person takes procession of merchandise or goods whose value is less then $500 then the person will be fined an amount not exceeding $1,000 and may face a jail sentence of not more than six months.
If the same person commits the crime of shoplifting for the second time, the punishment amount or the jail term is repeated as it was done when he committed the crime for the first time. But if the person repeats the crime for the third time, the crime is considered as a felony instead of a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $5,000 is levied on the person and he may face a jail term of up to 5 five years.
In case the value of merchandise stolen by the offender exceeds $500 then the person will be prosecuted and punished under the law of Mississippi offense and grand larceny. In this case, the jail term may extend up to 10 years and the fine up to $10,000.
In case the offender uses any equipment or device to shoplift, the Mississippi law criminalizes such acts. This may include using a device or equipment to remove the price tag, use a bag to hide the items or prevent the store alarms from getting activated. The law also gives the rights to the victim to sue in civil court and demand an amount three times the actual damages from the offender.
Consequences of Shoplifting in Mississippi
Sometimes, shoplifting starts as a thrill-seeking activity for an individual especially teenagers. Other times a person may indulge in shoplifting because of some bad financial condition but the law sees none of it. If a person gets a jail term because of shoplifting crime, it affects his social and psychological environment. He may lose the confidence in his friends and neighbors, lose his job, may not get a loan and government facilities, etc. so it is better to think twice before indulging shoplifting activity than regret later.
If you think you have a valid reason for shoplifting or want to get a lower sentence, it is better to take the help of a lawyer before accepting the crime.
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