Theft charges in Tennessee are serious and can result in hefty consequences for those convicted. Not only is an arrest for theft of any type of property and embarrassing situation, it is also costly in the financial and legal sense. A conviction can damage your immediate and long-term future prospects for employment and other life privileges. However, in some cases, individuals are falsely accused of the crime of theft. It is important to understand how this can happen if you have found yourself in this position, or one day do.
Misunderstandings that can lead to a charge of theft
Theft is the most common crime in Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood. Regardless of whether you were actually guilty of theft or a misunderstanding occurred – either way, the position you find yourself in is a difficult one. It important to have screens criminal defense attorney on your side to help demonstrate your innocence. Some of the misunderstandings and other errors that can result in an unjust charge of theft against you include:
- You believed you had permission from the owner to borrow the item, but you actually did not.
- You accidentally took someone else’s property, such as a wallet or phone, thinking it was yours.
- You were with, or in the vicinity of someone, who stole someone else’s property.
- As you went through the checkout, you accidentally left an unpaid item in your shopping cart.
- Your identity was mistaken for someone else who committed theft.
- You received permission to borrow an item from someone, but the owner claims you did not have permission.
- You purchased an item in a store without realizing or knowing that the price of the item had been hidden or changed
- Someone with you attempted to steal something in a store by putting it in your purse or bag.
Potential penalties if you are convicted of theft in Tennessee
Although you are innocent of theft due to one of the misunderstandings or mistakes mentioned above, the harsh reality is that you could still end up having to pay expensive fines or served time in jail. However, with an experienced theft attorney, you can significantly reduce the chances of this happening.
The importance of utilizing experienced legal counsel to defend you in a theft case is magnified by the penalties involved for convictions of theft in Tennessee. Any theft that involves property valued at less than $500 is often referred to as petty theft in Tennessee. Theft offenses involving more than $500 are often referred to as grand theft.
Grading of theft is assigned per statute T.C.A. 39-14-105. The charges and penalties can range anywhere from a Class a misdemeanor for property or services stolen under $1,000 in value to a Class a felony theft in which the value of property and services stolen is $250,000 or more. With a Class a misdemeanor theft, you may pay a fine as high as $2,500 and serve about one year in prison. The fines and prison terms increase from their for various levels of theft in terms of dollar value, with the Class a felony receiving a fine up to $50,000 and a prison sentence of 15 to 60 years.
If you are facing a charge of theft in Tennessee, our experienced Franklin criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates can fight aggressively on your behalf to achieve a dismissal, acquittal, or if necessary, and negotiated plea agreement on your behalf. For the legal support you need, beginning with a consultation about your case, give us a call today at 615.977.9370, or use our contact form. We serve clients from our offices in Brentwood, Franklin, and Columbia, TN.