Get that movie back to Blockbuster on time, or you might get arrested.
Pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated Section 97-17-62(1)(c),
It is unlawful to abandon or willfully refuse to redeliver personal property as required under a rental agreement without the consent of the lessor or the lessor’s agent with intent to defraud the lessor or the lessor’s agent.
The penalties for violating this section are as follows: If the property has a value of less than $500.00, then the crime is a misdemeanor punishable by six (6) months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. If the property has a value of $500.00 or more, it is a felony, and is punishable by ten (10) years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.
While the penalties are substantial, there are defenses to this charge. The most common defense is that there was no “intent to defraud.” This defense arises when there was an arguable dispute over the amount due, the length of the rental, or other terms of the contract. This defense may also arise when the person who rented the property got behind on payments, but tried to make arrangements to pay the past due amounts.
If you have been arrested, or threatened with arrest, for theft of rental property, please contact me at 601.944.1984 to discuss your case.