Category Archives: Felony Crimes

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Lawyer Discusses Failure to Report Under Mississippi Criminal Law

Any criminal lawyer in Mississippi will tell you that Mississippi law generally does not require citizens to report crimes or even emergencies to the appropriate authorities.  However, a very narrow exception to this rule exists when it comes to a person who accidentally starts a fire at a church or state-supported school.  Pursuant to Mississippi Code Section 97-17-3(2), any person who accidentally starts a fire at a church or school is required to alert appropriate authorities, such as the fire department, to report the fire.

Failure to report a fire under these circumstances is a felony, and has a potential sentence of two (2) years to ten (10) years in prison, and restitution for any property damage as a result of the fire.

This statute does not make it a crime to accidentally start a fire (to qualify as arson in Mississippi the fire must be intentionally set).  This law makes it a crime to fail to report a fire that the person accidentally started.  And again, this law applies only where the building that caught fire was a state-supported school or church.

If you have been charged with a crime relating to arson in Mississippi, please contact Mississippi criminal lawyer Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984.  There is no charge for an initial consultation.

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Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Possession of Marijuana With Intent to Sell or Distribute

If you’ve been charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute marijuana in Mississippi, there are some things you need to know.

Mississippi Code Section 41-29-139 makes it a felony crime to “sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute, dispense or possess with intent to sell barter, transfer, distribute or dispense” marijuana.

The penalties for possession with intent to sell or distribute marijuana in Mississippi are severe.  If the amount of marijuana involved is less than 30 grams, the potential sentence is three (3) years in prison, and a $3,000.00 fine.  In the case of a first offender who is charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute more than 30 grams, but less than 1 kilogram or marijuana, the potential sentence is twenty (20) years in prison, and a fine of $30,000.00.  In all other cases, the potential sentence is thirty (30) years in prison, and a fine of $5,000.00 (minimum) to $1,000,000.00 (maximum).

In Mississippi, the State must prove that the accused possessed the marijuana with the intent to sell or distribute.  Intent must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  Sometimes there is direct evidence of intent, such as where a person who has agreed to deliver marijuana to an informant is arrested on the way to make the delivery.  Most cases, however, are based on circumstantial evidence.

Under Mississippi law, the State may try to prove that a person had the intent to sell or distribute by showing that the amount of the marijuana in the person’s possession is proof of intent to sell.  In order to charge and convict a person based upon the amount of marijuana, Mississippi prosecutors must prove that the amount of marijuana in his possession exceeded the amount that would be reasonable for personal use.  Mississippi law states that if the amount of marijuana could just as likely be for personal use, as it was for sell or distribution, then the person cannot be convicted of possession with intent.  The proper charge in such a case would be simple possession of marijuana

In addition to the amount of marijuana, Mississippi law states that the packaging of the marijuana as well as other evidence of drug trafficking may be used to show possession with intent to sell or distribute.

In Mississippi, it is seldom easy for the State to prove possession with intent based upon the weight and packaging of marijuana.  The Mississippi Supreme Court has held that where a defendant was caught with 323.4 grams of marijuana, two (2) scales, a device used to hold marijuana, rolling papers, and $356.00 in cash, there was insufficient evidence of intent to sell or distribute.  The Court stated that the amount of marijuana was within the amount that a person could reasonably use, and that the holding device and rolling papers were consistent with using marijuana, not selling it.  Jowers v. State, 593 So.2d 46 (Miss. 1992).  Instead of possession with intent to sell or distribute marijuana, the defendant could only be convicted of simple possession of marijuana.  This is significant, as the penalties for simple possession are much less than those for possession with intent.

If you have been charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute marijuana in Mississippi, there are defenses available.  You need a criminal defense lawyer to handle your case and protect your interests.  Please call Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984 for a free consultation.  For more information, please feel free to visit our Mississippi criminal defense website.

Criminal Lawyer in Jackson, Mississippi Explains Arson of a Church or Place of Worship

Mississippi law deals severely with persons who are charged with arson of a church or house of worship.  The Mississippi first-degree arson statutes contain a section that deals specifically with setting fire to a church.

The basic elements of church arson in Mississippi are similar to those for arson of a house or dwelling.  Specifically, in order to prove the charge of arson of a church, the State must show: (1) that the defendant willfully and maliciously, (2) set fire to, or burned, or caused to be burned, or was a party to destruction by explosion from combustible material, (3) a church or other place of worship.  Mississippi arson law also provides that a person may be charged and convicted under the arson statute if he aids, counsels or procures the burning of a church or place of worship.

In addition to the above, under Mississippi arson law, a person can be found guilty of arson of a church regardless of whether the church was in use or vacant.

A person charged with arson of a church in Mississippi faces a potential sentence of five (5) to thirty (30) years in prison, and restitution for any property damaged as a result of the arson.  It is noteworthy that this maximum sentence exceeds the maximum sentence for arson of a dwelling by ten (10) years.

Of all crimes in Mississippi, arson is perhaps the most defensible.  Arson is the type of crime that usually has no witnesses, the case is entirely circumstantial, most physical evidence is destroyed by fire, and arson investigators frequently disagree with one another as to the cause and origin of a fire.  The nature of this crime provides a defense on every front for someone charged with arson in Mississippi.

I am a Mississippi criminal defense lawyer and I’m here to help.  If you’ve been charged with arson of a church or other building, please visit my Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense website for more information, or call 601.944.1984 for a free case evaluation.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Felony Possession of Marijuana

Possession of marijuana is illegal under Mississippi law.  Whether or not possession of marijuana is a felony under Mississippi law depends upon how much marijuana was in the person’s possession at the time they were arrested.

Marijuana is weighed by the gram.  If the amount of marijuana is thirty (30) grams or less, then the charge of possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor in Mississippi.  If the amount of marijuana is more than thirty (30) grams, then the person will be charged with possession of marijuana as a felony in Mississippi.

Mississippi law states that the potential penalty for a charge of possession of marijuana also depends upon the weight of the marijuana.  The weights and potential sentences are as follows:

More than 30 grams, but less than 250 grams:  three (3) years in prison and a $3,000.00 fine;

250 grams, but less than 500 grams: two (2) years to eight (8) years in prison and a $50,000.00 fine;

500 grams, but less than 1 kilogram: four (4) to sixteen (16) years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine;

1 kilogram, but less than 5 kilograms: six (6) to twenty-four (24) years in prison and a $500,000.00 fine;

5 kilograms or more: ten (10) to thirty (30) years in prison and a $1,000,000.00 fine.

If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana in Mississippi, you need an experienced criminal lawyer to protect your interests.  Possession of marijuana carries stiff penalties under Mississippi law.  If you’ve been charged with possession, please call criminal defense lawyer Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984 for a free case evaluation.  You may also visit our Mississippi criminal defense website for more information.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Lawyer Tells What You Need To Know If Charged With Malicious Mischief In Mississippi

If you’ve been charged with malicious mischief in Mississippi, here’s what you need to know.

The charge of malicious mischief can be either a felony or misdemeanor in Mississippi.  The easiest way to describe the crime of malicious mischief is to say that it is the act of intentionally destroying someone else’s property.  Mississippi criminal law states that a person can be charged with malicious mischief if he intentionally destroys, disfigures, or injures any real or personal property of another person.

If the property destroyed was worth $500.00 or less, then it is a misdemeanor which carries a sentence of twelve (12) months in the county jail, and a fine of $1,000.00.  Where the property destroyed was worth more than $500.00, malicious mischief is a felony in Mississippi, and carries a sentence of five (5) years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.

The value of the property is considered to be the cost to repair or replace the damaged property.

There are defenses available to a charge of malicious mischief.  If you’ve been charged with a crime, please contact us at 601.944.1984, for a complimentary case evaluation.  For more information, you can also visit our Jackson, MS criminal lawyer website.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Cyberstalking

If you are charged with cyberstalking in Mississippi, you need a lawyer.  Why?  Keep reading and you will understand.

Cyberstalking is illegal in Mississippi.  A person can be charged with cyberstalking if he or she:

(a) uses email or other electronic communication which threatens to inflict bodily harm to another person, or to another person’s family, or to damage another person’s property, for the purpose of extortion;

(b) repeatedly uses email to communicate with another person to threaten, terrify or harass that person;

(c) emails another person to make a false statement concerning death, injury, illness, indecent conduct or criminal conduct of the person emailed or of that person’s family, with the intent to threaten, terrify or harass; and

(d) knowingly allows an electronic device to be used by another person to do any of the above.

See Miss. Code. Ann. Section 97-45-15.

Cyberstalking in Mississippi carries a potential sentence of two (2) years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine.  That sentence increases to five (5) years and a $10,000.00 fine if the crime was committed (a) while there was a restraining order in place, (b) where the crime was committed in violation of a condition of release on bond, probation or parole, (c) where the crime results in a “credible threat” being communicated to the victim or the victim’s family, or (d) where the defendant has been previously convicted of cyberstalking in Mississippi, any other state, or under federal law.

Mississippi cyberstalking law is so broad that it seems difficult to draw a hard line between what is acceptable communications, and what is illegal as cyberstalking.  The statute raises questions such as:  How many emails is enough to be “repeated?”  Was the defendant’s intent to harass?  Was the communication within the message false?  And many others.

If you are charged with cyberstalking in Mississippi, it’s a felony.  You need a criminal lawyer who will fight hard to beat your cyberstalking charge.  Curt Crowley is a criminal lawyer in Jackson, Mississippi.  Curt and his criminal defense team are here to help, and you are invited to call him at 601.944.1984 for a free case evaluation.  You can also visit his Jackson MS criminal lawyer website for more information.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Tells What You Need To Know If Charged With Sale of Methamphetamine Or Possession With Intent to Distribute

If you have been arrested and charged with sale of methamphetamine, or possession with intent to sell, distribute or transfer meth in Mississippi, there are some things you need to know.

(1) It is illegal in Mississippi to sell, transfer, manufacture or distribute methamphetamine;

(2) It is also illegal to possess methamphetamine with the intent to sell, transfer, manufacture or distribute to another person;

(3) Regardless of whether you are charged with possession with intent, or the actual sale of methamphetamine, the penalties are the same;

(4) If you are charged with possession with intent, or the sale or transfer of methamphetamine, you face a potential sentence of thirty (30) years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000.00;

(5) Even though you may think you are guilty, there are many defenses to possession of meth, and the State’s case is seldom as strong as you think;

(6) If the charge is possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, deliver, etc., the amount of meth in your possession may require that the charge be reduced to simple possession of meth.  This will greatly reduce the potential maximum sentence you face.

I’m a criminal lawyer in Jackson, Mississippi, and represent people charged with possession with intent to sell methamphetamine and other drugs and controlled substances.  If you have been charged with sale of methamphetamine or other controlled substances, please contact us at our Jackson, Mississippi criminal defense website for a free case evaluation.