Although people often think of shoplifting as a minor crime, you can face serious penalties if convicted of shoplifting in Tennessee. The potential penalties for shoplifting can vary depending on factors such as the value of the stolen items, the offender’s criminal history, and the circumstances surrounding the incident. If you have been charged with shoplifting, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains the Tennessee shoplifting laws and possible penalties that will be imposed if you are convicted.
Shoplifting Laws in Tennessee
“A person commits theft of property if, with intent to deprive the owner of property, the person knowingly obtains or exercises control over the property without the owner’s effective consent.”
The severity of the charges you face for shoplifting (or any other type of theft) will depend on the value of the allegedly stolen property. As such, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony criminal offense for shoplifting, as follows:
- Class A Misdemeanor: Theft of property valued at $1,000 or less.
- Class E Felony: Theft of property valued between $1,000 and $2,500.
- Class D Felony: Theft of property valued between $2,500 and $10,000.
- Class C Felony: Theft of property valued between $10,000 and $60,000.
- Class B Felony: Theft of property valued between $60,000 and $250,000.
- Class A Felony: Theft of property valued at $250,000 or more.
Shoplifting Penalties in Tennessee
The potential penalties you face if convicted of shoplifting in Tennessee will depend primarily on the classification of the theft charges against you. If, however, you have a significant criminal history or you were also charged with additional criminal offenses, you could be sentenced to more time for a conviction. Typically, the penalties for a shoplifting conviction are as follows:
- Class A Misdemeanor. Imprisonment for up to 11 months and 29 days and/or fines up to $2,500.
- Class E Felony. Imprisonment ranging from 1 to 6 years and/or fines not exceeding $3,000.
- Class D Felony. Imprisonment for 2 to 12 years and/or fines up to $5,000.
- Class C Felony. Imprisonment for 3 to 15 years and/or fines up to $10,000.
- Class B Felony. Imprisonment for 8 to 30 years and/or fines up to $25,000.
- Class A Felony. Imprisonment for 15 to 60 years and/or fines up to $50,000.
In addition to criminal penalties, shoplifters in Tennessee may also face civil consequences. Retailers are permitted to pursue civil monetary damages against individuals who steal from their establishments. You may also be required to pay restitution equal to the value of the merchandise stolen and any damage you caused as part of your criminal case. When restitution is ordered, paying the restitution usually becomes a special condition of your probation.
Tennessee Shoplifting Diversion Programs
If you were recently arrested and charged with shoplifting in Tennessee, you should also know that Tennessee offers diversion programs for first-time offenders. A diversion program offers you the opportunity to complete community service, attend educational programs, and/or undergo counseling in exchange for having your charges dismissed. It is like being on probation; however, if you successfully complete the program, you will not have a criminal record. Tennessee offers two types of diversion programs: pre-trial diversion and judicial diversion. To participate in the judicial diversion program must enter a conditional guilty plea. Initially, the court does not enter your plea of guilty into the record, but if you fail to successfully complete the diversion program you will return to court where the guilty plea will be entered into the record, and you will be sentenced. The pre-trial diversion program does not require you to enter a guilty plea but is otherwise similar to the judicial diversion program.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with shoplifting or theft 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.