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Understanding Tennessee's Theft Laws

Theft is a term that can widely describe various crimes of stealing property without permission. Because the word theft has a broad legal meaning that encompasses various degrees of offenses, it is important to know the exact definitions and punishments for each type of theft in Tennessee.

Tennessee theft laws say it is illegal to take property without consent. But the laws go into great detail in terms of classification and penalties. Tennessee statutes classify theft crimes according to the value of the property in question. Here are the different levels of theft and their corresponding punishments.

Class A misdemeanor

Theft is a Class A misdemeanor, or petty theft when the property is worth $500 or less. The maximum punishment includes a fine of $2,500 and incarceration for 11 months and 29 days.

Class E felony

Theft becomes a felony when the property has a value between $500 and $1,000. The maximum punishment includes a fine of $3,000 and incarceration lasting between one year and six years.

Class D felony

The next degree of theft occurs when the property is worth between $1,000 and $10,000. The maximum punishment includes a fine of $5,000 and incarceration lasting between two years and 12 years.

Class C felony

Theft is a Class C felony if it involves property valued between $10,000 and $60.000. The maximum punishment includes a fine of $10,000 and incarceration lasting between three years and 15 years.

Class B felony

The highest level of theft occurs with property valued at $60,000 or more. The maximum punishment includes a fine of $25,000 and incarceration lasting between eight years and 30 years.

It may help those who are facing theft charges to understand what they are up against. However, it is important to know that burglary and robbery are separate offenses under Tennessee law. Therefore, depending on the details of a case, the potential punishments may be different. It is also possible for owners of property to seek civil penalties for theft, especially in the case of shoplifting.

Just as with every other criminal offense, there are defenses to theft charges. If you have been arrested, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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