Being charged with a crime in Tennessee is a serious matter. Your freedom and your rights are in jeopardy from the moment the police begin a criminal investigation through the trial and sentencing phase. You have the right to have strong legal counsel on your side during the entire criminal justice process. Your criminal defense lawyer should understand the criminal statutes in Tennessee as well as your constitutional rights in order to protect your best interests and reduce the risks of a conviction of theft in Tennessee or the repercussions of a theft conviction in Tennessee.
We want to put your mind at ease and help relieve the stress you are experiencing by giving you straight answers to your questions. The criminal defense attorneys of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC are dedicated to providing you with the best legal defense available. We will develop an effective defense strategy against the charges of theft to minimize your chance of facing substantial fines, jail time, and other penalties. You do not need to face the uncertainty of fighting a theft charge alone. Our attorneys and our dedicated legal staff defend your rights and aggressively work to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Call our office at 865-292-2307 to schedule a private, confidential consultation with one of our theft defense attorneys.
How Does Tennessee Define Theft as a Crime?
Theft occurs when a person, with the intent to deprive an owner of property, knowingly takes the property or exercises control over the property without the owner’s consent. Theft can be classified under two categories. The first is the theft of property, which is described above. The second category is the theft of services, which involves a person obtaining services through fraud or deception. In other words, the person obtained the services but never intended to pay for the services even though he or she knew that payment was anticipated and required.
When you read the Tennessee statutes regarding theft, the crime of theft is very broad and encompasses a wide variety of specific crimes.
Examples of theft in Tennessee include:
- Armed robbery
- Auto Theft
- Grand Theft
- Petty Theft
- Credit Card Fraud
- Mail Fraud
- Bank Fraud
- Identity Theft
Because theft incorporates such a wide variety of crimes, the penalties for theft in Tennessee can vary from a small fine and a few days in jail up to tens of thousands of dollars in fines and decades in prison.
What Penalties Will I Face if I am Convicted of Theft in Tennessee?
The value of the property or service in question determines whether you will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. The judge may also take into consideration any aggravating circumstances that can elevate a simple misdemeanor theft charge to a felony theft charge. Therefore, the penalty you face will depend on the value of the property or service.
For example, the lowest charge for theft is a Class A misdemeanor. This is the charge for any property or service worth $500 or less. If you are found guilty, the judge may sentence you to a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500. However, any property or service worth more than $500 is charged as a felony. As the value of the property or service in question increases, the amount of the fine and the length of the prison sentence increases.
For a conviction under a Class E felony theft charge, the judge may sentence you to a prison term of up to 6 years and a fine of up to $3,000. However, if you are convicted of a Class A felony theft charge, the maximum prison sentence increases to 60 years with fines up to $50,000. In addition to jail/prison time and fines, the judge may also impose other penalties if you are convicted of theft including, but not limited to, probation and restitution.
When imposing sentencing, judges also consider other factors such as your past criminal history. A criminal history can be a large factor in whether the judge orders the maximum sentence for a guilty verdict. Defendants with a substantial criminal history face much harsher sentences for guilty verdicts. A judge may also consider mitigating and aggravating circumstances when sentencing. A mitigating circumstance could work to lower your sentence while an aggravating circumstance will increase the sentence.
Another consequence of a theft conviction on your record is that, under Tennessee law, it is considered a crime involving dishonesty or false statement. Any time you give sworn testimony in Tennessee by affidavit, deposition, or in court after you have been convicted of theft you are subject to being made out to be a liar simply by virtue of being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony theft.
Why Do I Need an Experienced Theft Defense Attorney?
An experienced theft defense lawyer understands the sentencing laws with regard to the various theft offenses outlined under the Tennessee criminal statutes. As part of your defense strategy, our attorneys look at all of the possibilities for sentencing in your case and advise you of the best defense strategy to utilize to receive the best possible outcome given the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest for theft.
Theft convictions cost you much more than simply your freedom and substantial fines. A conviction for theft results in a permanent criminal record that limits your future employment opportunities and damages your reputation with family, friends, co-workers, and employers. It is vital that you contact a theft defense attorney as soon as possible to help avoid the damage a theft conviction can cause. An experienced theft defense lawyer aggressively investigates the circumstances surrounding your arrest for theft to identify and preserve key evidence to use at trial to refute the state’s allegations. Our attorneys utilize every available resource in your defense to minimize the potential for negative consequences.
Fight for Your Future by Hiring an Experienced Attorney
Regardless of how difficult your situation may seem or how hopeless you may feel, you are not alone. Our attorneys provide support, guidance, and expert legal advice during each phase of the criminal process. Protecting your best interest is our top priority. Do not risk your future by hiring an attorney who does not have theft defense experience.
We represent clients in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and the Tri-Cities area. If you are in middle or eastern Tennessee and need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is dedicated to ensuring you receive the best possible legal defense, contact Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC at 865-292-2307 to obtain more details and to schedule your confidential consultation. We offer affordable rates.
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