Being charged with theft also referred to as shoplifting in Williamson County, Tennessee is not to be taken lightly. Both the Franklin, Tennesee Police Department and the Brentwood, Tennessee Police Department prosecute these cases very seriously. Back when I started practicing there was a rumor everyone got 48 hours in jail to help the Cool Springs mall.
Shoplifting is taking merchandise from a store without their consent. It is basically a theft charge. Theft under $1,000.00 is a misdemeanor under Tennessee law. It can be punished with up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine up to $2,500.00.
What happens in court? It boils down to what your criminal record. Folks with a long record of shoplifting or theft charges will be treated more harshly than those without a criminal record. You can have a trial on your case. However, most cases I encounter have the stolen merchandise with the person arrested.
What happens to a first time offender? A first time offender for shoplifting can get their case dismissed. Judicial Diversion under T.C.A. 40-35-313 allows one to be placed on probation. At the end of probation, one can petition the court to expunge the criminal charge from your criminal record. The process requires your attorney to apply to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for a certificate stating you are eligible for judicial diversion. using this type of plea bargain allows you to avoid a criminal conviction.
It is really important to try to avoid a conviction for theft. It is a crime of dishonesty. It severely impacts your chance to get a good job.
If you have any questions about defending your Williamson County, Tennessee shoplifting charge, please feel free to contact us via our website contact page or call us.