What penalties can you face for shoplifting?

| Dec 8, 2020 | Criminal Law |

If you think of shoplifting as a minor offense against a rich merchant who can easily adsorb the loss, think again. Mississippi takes a dim view of shoplifting, and Section 97-23-93 of the Mississippi Code provides for severe penalties upon conviction. 

FindLaw explains that you commit shoplifting if you do any of the following: 

  • Conceal unpurchased merchandise 
  • Transfer unpurchased merchandise from one container to another 
  • Remove or alter the price sticker, tag or device from unpurchased merchandise 
  • Cause the cash register to show a lesser price than the merchant’s stated price for the merchandise 
  • Remove unpurchased merchandise from a store 

Mississippi law presumes your intent to shoplift if you engage in any of the above listed activities. 

Misdemeanor shoplifting penalties

If you receive a first or second conviction for shoplifting merchandise valued at $1,000 or less, this is a misdemeanor for which you could face a sentence of up to one year in the county jail, a maximum $1,000 fine or both. Keep in mind that, in arriving at the $1,000 amount, the prosecutor can aggregate the amounts of anything you allegedly shoplifted from three or more stores over a 30-day period. 

Felony shoplifting penalties

If you receive a third conviction for shoplifting merchandise valued at between $500 and $1,000, this is a felony. You face a maximum 3-year prison sentence, a maximum $1,000 fine or both. 

If convicted of shoplifting merchandise valued at over $1,000, Mississippi law considers this grand larceny. For this felony, Section 97-17-41 of the Mississippi Code provides for a maximum 10-year prison sentence or a maximum fine of $10,000.