If you have been charged with committing a criminal offense in Tennessee, it is in your best interest to have a clear understanding of the possible penalties you face if you are convicted of that offense. Toward that end, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains Tennessee felony and misdemeanor sentencing.
Felony Sentencing in Tennessee
Tennessee divides criminal offenses into felonies and misdemeanors with felony offenses representing the more serious crimes. Your potential sentence depends on the class of felony for which you are convicted as follows:
- Class A felony. 15-60 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
- Class B felony. 8-30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
- Class C felony. 3-15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Class D felony. 2-12 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
- Class E felony. 1-6 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $3,000.
Misdemeanor Sentencing in Tennessee
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense in Tennessee, you face the following potential penalties:
- Class A misdemeanor. Up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
- Class B misdemeanor. Up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.
- Class C misdemeanor. Up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $50.
What Happens If I Am Convicted of More than One Offense?
If you are convicted of more than one criminal offense, the court may order your sentences to run concurrently or consecutively. Concurrent sentences mean that both sentences will run at the same time while consecutive sentences require a defendant to complete one sentence before starting the second sentence. Tennessee Code Section 40-35-115 governs multiple convictions, providing a list of factors that allow the court to impose consecutive sentencing including things such as:
- The defendant is a professional criminal who has knowingly devoted the defendant’s life to criminal acts as a major source of livelihood.
- The defendant is an offender whose record of criminal activity is extensive.
- The defendant is a dangerous offender whose behavior indicates little or no regard for human life, and no hesitation about committing a crime in which the risk to human life is high.
While the penalties outlined above provide a starting point for the potential sentence you face if convicted of a criminal offense in Tennessee, there are numerous aggravating factors that could cause you to receive an enhanced sentence. A complete list of aggravating factors can be found in Tennessee Code §40-35-114; however, some commonly used examples include:
- The defendant has a previous history of criminal convictions or criminal behavior.
- The defendant was a leader in the commission of an offense involving two or more criminal actors.
- The offense involved a victim.
- The defendant possessed or employed a firearm, explosive device, or other deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.
- During the commission of the felony, the defendant intentionally inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person, or the actions of the defendant resulted in the death of, or serious bodily injury to, a victim or a person other than the intended victim.
- The defendant was released on bail, pretrial release, parole, or probation at the time of the commission of the crime.
- The defendant abused a position of public or private trust, or used a professional license in a manner that significantly facilitated the commission or the fulfillment of the offense.
- At the time the instant offense was committed, the defendant was illegally or unlawfully in the United States.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about felony or misdemeanor sentencing in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.