Category Archives: Theft

Mississippi criminal defense lawyer discusses issues relating to crimes involving theft.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Lawyer Explains False Statements to Obtain Credit Cards

Mississippi criminal law prohibits making false statements to obtain a credit card.  Mississippi Code Section 97-19-11 makes it illegal to “directly or indirectly” makes a “false statement in writing with intent that it be relied upon with respect to his identity or that of any other person, firm or corporation.”

In Mississippi, providing false information to obtain a credit card is a misdemeanor.  If convicted of this crime, a person is facing a sentence of six (6) months in jail and a fine of $1,000.00.

Mississippi limits this statute to false statements regarding identity.  This law was obviously enacted in response to the related crime of identity theft.  Other statements one might falsify on a credit card application, such as income, do not fall under this statute.  However, lying about such other matters to obtain a credit card may be illegal under other state and federal criminal statutes.

There are defenses to the charge of making false statements to obtain credit cards in Mississippi.  If you have been arrested for this crime or other fraud-related offenses, please contact Jackson, Mississippi criminal defense lawyer Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984 to discuss your case.  As always, there is no cost for an initial consultation.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains What You Need To Know If Charged With Possession Of Stolen Property

If you’re charged with possession of or receiving stolen property in Mississippi, here are some things you need to know.  

A person is guilty of possession of stolen property or receiving stolen property under Mississippi law if he intentionally possesses, receives, retains or disposes of stolen property.  Mississippi law requires that a person charged with receiving or possession of stolen property either (1) know that the property is stolen, or (2) have reasonable grounds to believe that the property is stolen. 

Under Mississippi law, the standard for deciding whether a person should have known the property was stolen is whether the accused received the stolen property under circumstances that reasonable men would believe the property was stolen.  The State sometimes tries to prove this by showing that the accused person paid a lot less for the property than the property was worth.  For example, if a person buys a Glock pistol for $50.00, when the fair market value is $500.00, then he obviously should know that it is stolen.  In such a case, the person would likely be found guilty of possession or receiving stolen property in Mississippi.

Whether possession of stolen property is a felony or a misdemeanor in Mississippi depends on the value of the property.  If the property has a value of $500.00 or less, then it is a misdemeanor which carries a sentence of six (6) months in the county jail.  If the stolen property has a value of more than $500.00, then it is a felony, with a potential sentence of ten (10) years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00.

There are defenses to the charge of possession or receiving stolen property in Mississippi.  These cases are easiest to defend where the State tries to prove that the defendant paid so much less for the property than it was worth, that he should have known it was stolen.  As an example, I once had a client who purchased a stolen vehicle for $750.00 from another individual (my client did not know it was stolen).  The Blue Book value of the vehicle was around $6,000.00.  However, when my client bought the car, the engine was knocking and leaking oil, and the transmission needed to be replaced.  Under those circumstances, my client likely overpaid for the car.  After presenting those facts to the prosecutor, the State dismissed the possession of stolen property charge against my client.

If you have been charged with possession of stolen property or receiving stolen property, don’t assume you are guilty.  Please contact Jackson, Mississippi criminal defense attorney Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984 for a free case evaluation.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer-What You Need to Know if Arrested for Motor Vehicle Theft in Mississippi

If you have been charged with motor vehicle theft in Mississippi, here’s what you need to know.

Motor vehicle theft, sometimes called auto theft, is a felony crime under Mississippi Code Section 97-17-42.  In order to convict you of motor vehicle theft, the State must prove to the jury that you:

(1) Wilfully and without authority;

(2) Took possession of a motor vehicle;

(3) With the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of possession or ownership of the motor vehicle.

Mississippi Code Section 97-17-42.  The statute also states that anyone who knowingly “aids and abets” another person in motor vehicle theft is also guilty of this crime.  If you are convicted of motor vehicle theft in Mississippi, you can be sentenced to ten (10) years in prison.  If the motor vehicle was damaged as a result of the theft, you can also be ordered to pay the owner for these damages.

If you are convicted of a second or subsequent offense of motor vehicle theft, you face fifteen (15) years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.

The Mississippi motor vehicle theft law is significantly different from other laws dealing with larceny and theft.  The biggest differences are (1) the State does not have to prove the value of the vehicle, and (2) the State does not have to prove that you intended to permanently take the car away from the owner.  Even a temporary taking of a motor vehicle violates the Mississippi motor vehicle theft law.

Despite these differences, you still may have defenses if you are arrested for motor vehicle theft in Mississippi.  These defenses may include:

(a) Whether the State can prove you ever actually possessed the vehicle;

(b) Whether you had the consent of the owner or some other person with authority to possess the automobile; and

(c) Whether your intent was to deprive the owner of the use of the vehicle, or did you have some other intent.

There may be other defenses to this charge, depending upon the specific facts of your case.

As a Mississippi criminal defense lawyer, I can tell you the one most important thing you need to know if you’ve been arrested for motor vehicle theft: keep your mouth shut.  Exercise your right to remain silent, and make no statements to the police or anyone else.

The second most important thing you need to know is to hire a Mississippi criminal defense lawyer immediately.  Your choice of attorney can mean the difference between freedom and prison.  Curt Crowley is an experienced Jackson, MS criminal defense attorney.  Please contact us at 601.944.1984 for a free consultation.

Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Petit Larceny

Petit Larceny (pronounced “petty” larceny) is a misdemeanor crime in Mississippi.

The crime of petit larceny is identical to grand larceny, with one important exception: the value of the stolen property.  In order to convict the accused of petit larceny in Mississippi, the State must prove:

(1) that the accused took, stole and carried away;

(2) the personal property of another person; and

(3) that the property had a value of less than $500.00.

See Mississippi Code Section 97-17-43.

The same general rules that apply to grand larceny also apply to petit larceny.  Most notably, the State has to prove that the accused took the property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the use of the property.  Also, if the accused intended to use the property temporarily, and then return it to the owner, he cannot be found guilty of petit larceny.

While petit larceny is a misdemeanor in Mississippi, there are still substantial penalties: Up to six (6) months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.  If the victim is a church or other place of worship, the penalty is doubled to one (1) year in jail and a $2,000.00 fine.

If you’ve been charged with petit larceny in Mississippi, please contact me at 601.944.1984 to discuss your case.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains What You Need to Know if Charged With Grand Larceny in Mississippi

Have you been charged with Grand Larceny in Mississippi?  Here’s some facts you need to know.

In order to prove you guilty of grand larceny under Mississippi law, the State must prove:

(1) that you took and carried away;

(2) the personal property of another person; and

(3) that the personal property had a value of $500.00 or more.

See Mississippi Code Section 97-17-41.

While this is the statutory language, you should also keep in mind the following facts about the crime of grand larceny:

(a) The State must prove that you intended to steal the property;

(b) The State must prove that you intended to permanently take the property from the owner.  If you took the property with the intent to use it temporarily and then give it back, you are not guilty of grand larceny under Mississippi law;

(c) The State must prove that you had no legal right to possess the stolen property, and that you did not have consent to take the property;

(d) The State must prove the identity of the true owner of the stolen property;

(e) The fact that you were arrested while in possession of recently stolen property may be used as proof that you were the one who actually stole it, and are guilty of grand larceny.  However, if you have a reasonable, legitimate explanation for how you came into possession of the stolen property, you can defeat this evidence;

(f) You cannot be convicted of grand larceny in Mississippi if you find and keep lost property, so long as you don’t know the identity of the owner and have no immediate way of identifying the true owner;

(g) The State is required to prove that the stolen property had a value of $500.00 or more.  The value of the stolen property must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt;

(h) If the value of the stolen property is less than $500.00, you are not guilty of grand larceny, and can be found guilty only of misdemeanor petit larceny;

(i) Under the Mississippi grand larceny law, “value” means the fair market value at the time the property was stolen;

(j) The value of the stolen property can be proven by showing evidence of how much it would cost to replace the property;

(k) The value of the stolen property may also be proven by showing the cost of similar items on the open market;

(l) The value of the stolen property may also be proven by showing how much the victim paid for the property, so long as the property was purchased a short time before it was stolen;

(m) You have the right to introduce evidence that the value of the property is less than $500.00.

While grand larceny may seem simple and straightforward, it’s not.  Many of these rules and principles can be used to show that you are not guilty of grand larceny under Mississippi law.  At a minimum, many times we can use these rules to get the charge reduced from felony grand larceny to misdemeanor petit larceny.

Finally, if you have been arrested for grand larceny in Mississippi, you need to know the penalty you are facing if you are convicted of grand larceny: ten (10) years in prison and a fine of $10,000.00.

If you have been arrested for grand larceny in Mississippi, you need a criminal defense lawyer with the experience and tenacity to protect your rights.  If you need help, we’re here for you.  Please contact us at 601.944.1984.  There is no cost for an initial consultation.

Mississippi Criminal Defense Attorney Explains House Burglary

In Mississippi, house burglary, also known as burglary of an occupied or inhabited dwelling, is a felony crime. 

In order to be convicted of house burglary, the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:

1.  The defendant broke and entered;

2. The dwelling house of another (or an inner door of the house); and

3. That the defendant had the intent to commit a crime once inside the house.

See Mississippi Code Section 97-17-23.

The definition of “break[ing]” is extremely broad.  The State is not required to prove that the defendant used physical force to “break” into the house.  Even if the door is unlocked, simply turning the knob and opening the door is “breaking” under Mississippi burglary law.  The Mississippi Supreme Court has also held that if the defendant gains entry to a house by using deceit or trickery to get the owner to let him in, then he is guilty of “breaking” into the house.

If the defendant’s intent when he breaks into the house is to commit any crime once inside, then he has violated the burglary statute under Mississippi law.  Most frequently, the defendant is accused of breaking and entering with the intent to steal items from within the house (grand larceny).  However, if the defendant’s intent was to commit another crime–such as assaulting the homeowner–this would also violate the burglary statute, even though he had no intent to steal anything.

A burglary conviction carries a sentence of 3 years (minimum) to 25 years (maximum), in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

If you have been arrested for burglary in Mississippi, we can help.  Please contact us at 601-944-1984 to discuss your case at no charge.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains Theft of Rental Property

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.