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Shoplifting Charges in Tennessee

Shoplifting charges in Tennessee are treated very similar to theft charges. Consequences of a shoplifting conviction brand you as a thief and the courts consider you convicted of a crime of dishonesty. The government does not have to prove that you exercised control of the property pursuant to theft law found at Tennessee Code Annotated 39-14-103. A different set of factors apply.

The Tennessee Shoplifting Statute found at T.C.A. 39-14-146 provides the following list of acts:

39-14-146. Theft of property Conduct involving merchandise.

(a) For purposes of § 39-14-103, a person commits theft of property if the person, with the intent to deprive a merchant of the stated price of merchandise, knowingly commits any of the following acts:

(1) Conceals the merchandise;

(2) Removes, takes possession of, or causes the removal of merchandise;

(3) Alters, transfers or removes any price marking, or any other marking which aids in determining value affixed to the merchandise;

(4) Transfers the merchandise from one (1) container to another; or

(5) Causes the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the merchant's stated price for the merchandise.

Effective July 1st, 2017, the Tennessee legislature added two more acts.

6. Removes, destroys, deactivates, or evades any component of an anti-shoplifting device or inventory control device to committ or facilitate a theft.

7. Uses any artifice, instrument, container, device or other article to commit or facilitate a theft.

8. Activates or interferes with a fire alarm system to commit or facilitate a theft.

Notice what you don't see? Point of sale is never mentioned. It seems the loss prevention folks treat passing the point of sale with merchandise as a crime. I think that is a big misconception in shoplifting cases.

If you're facing a shoplifting charge, please feel free to contact us for help. You have options from fighting your case to effective plea bargaining that may avoid a criminal conviction in some cases. These cases are treated differently from county to county. Call us for help.