Shoplifting, Jail Time, and Having a Job in Madison County, Mississippi


We were able to keep a client out of jail, and save their job, today in a Madison County court in a shoplifting case.  We were able to negotiate a nonadjudication of the charge, which means that if our client completes some conditions imposed by the court, the charge will be dismissed, and then the arrest can be expunged from their record.  Short of an out-and-out finding of not guilty, this is the best result possible.


This is a “low percentage” play.  What I mean by that is that it does not happen often.  If you are found guilty of shoplifting (even very minor shoplifting – think candy bars) in most Jackson metro area courts, you are looking at some time (usually a few days) in jail.  I have seen nurses, architects, doctor’s wives, and church choir directors tearfully leave courtrooms in handcuffs to do their jail time.  Judges take shoplifting seriously, and will not hesitate to show you the door to a jail cell.  This is not to say that these cases cannot be won – because they can – it is just that the stakes are high as far as the potential penalties for even the smallest infraction.


One thing that helped my client today: they had a job.  They have been working in the same place for ten years, and a conviction likely would have cost them their employment, and possibly their chance at retirement.  I have not yet met a judge or prosecutor in Mississippi that did not place at least some value, and take some pity, on someone who works hard.  It is far better to go into court and be able to tell a story that involves a hardworking person that made a singular bad decision, than to have to explain to the court why you are 32 years old with four children, $18K in arrears in child support, and you’ve never held a job.


There is a story to be told in every criminal case, and the last chapter does not necessarily have to be written behind bars.  Let us help you tell your story.  Our clients are real people, and we make sure they don’t get lost on a docket sheet.