Understanding Charges of Theft in Tennessee

There are too many different categories of theft offenses in the state of Tennessee to address in detail in a single blog post. However, this article is intended to cover the high points of theft charges in Tennessee and how you can address those charges against you.

A common example of theft would be an accusation of shoplifting. Theft charges in Tennessee are scaled based on the value of the property taken. Essentially, the more valuable the merchandise the more serious the offense.

The classes and penalties of theft offenses are as follows:

  • Class A misdemeanor ($1,000 or less): maximum imprisonment of 11 months and 29 days or maximum fine of $2,500
  • Class E felony ($1,000 to $2,500): imprisonment between1-6 years and maximum fine of $3,000
  • Class D felony ($2,500 to $10,000): imprisonment between 2-12 years and maximum fine of $5,000
  • Class C felony ($10,000 to $60,000): imprisonment between 3-15 years and maximum fine of $10,000
  • Class B felony ($60,000 to $250,000): imprisonment between 8-30 years and maximum fine of $25,000
  • Class A felony ($250,000 or more): imprisonment between 15-60 years and maximum fine of $50,000

In other words, the value of the goods stolen determines the different classes of theft offenses and their penalties.

Misdemeanor Theft in Tennessee

A theft charge is considered a misdemeanor if the total value of the goods is $1,000 or less. A misdemeanor theft conviction can result in nearly a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Even worse, thefts in Tennessee that occur in the same series of conduct can be added together to make a felony charge. Imagine someone takes property worth $200 from one person, $300 from another person, and $600 from a third person; the State could either charge the thefts as three misdemeanor thefts or could add those values together to make a single felony theft charge.

Felony Theft in Tennessee 

A theft charge in Tennessee becomes a felony when the value of the stolen property goes above $1,000. There are different levels ranging from Class E, the least severe, to the most severe Class A.

Under Tennessee law, it is permissible to aggregate the value of goods stolen from different owners. For example, if you steal $1,000 from 3 different people, the Court can add this amount together to $3,000, and you will be subject to a more severe penalty than if the value was just the misdemeanor amount of $1,000. Upgrading to a higher class of theft results in harsher consequences.

Complexities in Theft Laws

It is also possible to deprive someone of services and have this be considered a theft offense. A major difference is the value of stolen services cannot be aggregated like the value of stolen goods. If you deprive someone of both goods and services, the value of the two can be aggregated if the separate acts of theft are:

  • From the same owner;
  • From the same location; and
  • Are pursuant to continuing criminal activity.

Theft charges in Tennessee are complicated. That is why it is important to have a strong Tennessee criminal defense attorney on your side representing you.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, or are under criminal investigation, and want a strong criminal defense attorney in Franklin, Williamson County, Nashville, or Middle Tennessee then contact Legal Powers today to discuss your case and learn more about our strong legal representation!

The information in this website is not legal advice. Visiting our website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. The information provided above is intended to be used for informational purposes only and we hope it may assist in understanding the evaluation of your case when speaking with a Tennessee attorney.