The Crime

Theft is a serious offense that can damage your record and your reputation. If you have been charged with Felony Theft, you should seek help from the Knoxville criminal defense attorneys at the Oberman & Rice Law Firm.

In Tennessee, a person may be convicted of the crime of Theft of Property if the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person:

  1. Intended to deprive or take the property of another; and
  2. Knowingly took or exercised control over the property of the owner; and
  3. Did not have the consent of the owner to take or exercise control over the property.

A person may be convicted of the Tennessee crime of Theft of Services if the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person:

  1. Intentionally obtained services by deception, fraud, coercion, forgery, false statement, false pretense or any other means to avoid payment for the services; or
  2. Had control over the disposition of services to others and knowingly diverted those services to the person’s own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled thereto; or
  3. Knowingly absconded from establishments where compensation for services is ordinarily paid immediately upon the rendering of them, including, but not limited to, hotels, motels and restaurants, without payment or a bona fide offer to pay.

The Tennessee Theft law is meant to include and incorporate offenses that were previously considered to be separate crimes such as Embezzlement, False Pretense, Fraudulent Conversion, Larceny, Receiving or Concealing Stolen Property, and Shoplifting.

[Source: Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 39-14-101, 39-14-103]

The Penalties

Tennessee law specifies that penalties for a Felony Theft conviction depend upon the value of the property or services and increase as the value of the property or services increases, according to following categories:

1.    Value of lost property or services greater than $500 but less than $1,000 is a Class E Felony and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

    • A sentence of 1 to 6 years in prison;
    • A probationary period;
    • Restitution (Payment for loss or damage to property);
    • A fine of up to $3,000; and
    • Court costs.

 2.    Value of lost property or services greater than $1,000 but less than $10,000 is a Class D Felony and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

    • A sentence of 2 to 12 years in prison;
    • A probationary period;
    • Restitution (Payment for loss or damage to property);
    • A fine of up to $5,000; and
    • Court costs.

 3.    Value of lost property or services greater than $10,000 but less than $60,000 is a Class C Felony and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

    • A sentence of 3 to 15 years in prison;
    • A probationary period;
    • Restitution (Payment for loss or damage to property);
    • A fine of up to $10,000; and
    • Court costs.

4.    Value of lost property or services greater than $60,000 but less than $120,000 is a Class B Felony and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

    • A sentence of 8 to 30 years in prison;
    • A probationary period;
    • Restitution (Payment for loss or damage to property);
    • A fine of up to $25,000; and
    • Court costs.

 5.    Value of lost property or services greater than $120,000 is a Class A Felony and may result in some or all of the following penalties:

    • A sentence of 15 to 60 years in prison;
    • A probationary period;
    • Restitution (Payment for loss or damage to property);
    • A fine of up to $50,000; and
    • Court costs.

If the value of lost property or services is $500 or less, the offense is classified as a Tennessee Misdemeanor Theft.

Other Consequences of a Felony Theft Conviction

In addition to the court-mandated penalties described above, a person convicted of Theft may also experience serious collateral (other) consequences. A Tennessee Theft conviction may result in the loss of college scholarships or the ability to seek admission to a higher learning institution.  A conviction may also impact one’s ability to maintain or seek employment and may result in negative action to a professional license (e.g. nursing).

Furthermore, a conviction for Theft will ALWAYS stay on a person’s criminal history, and current and future employers may access records of prior convictions.  This means that under current Tennessee criminal law and expungement law you may not erase or expunge a Theft conviction from public record.  Accordingly, current and future employers may access records of Tennessee criminal convictions.  For more information about Tennessee expungement law, you may wish to review the information contained on our sister website, http://www.eraseyourrecord.com/index.html.

Why Hire An Attorney Immediately?

It is important to act quickly in order to gather and preserve favorable evidence. Key evidence (faces, dates, events, and conversations) fades from memory over time. Certain witnesses need to be interviewed as soon as possible.  Key evidence (faces, dates, events, and conversations) fades from memory over time.  Also, video recordings and other evidence may be destroyed.  Therefore, it is critical to begin an investigation as soon as possible to ensure valuable evidence is not lost. Success or failure in any criminal case may be determined in the decisions of the defendant and his or her Tennessee Criminal Attorney in only a few hours or days after an arrest is made.

Contact Us Today

If you or someone you know has recently been arrested, contact the Oberman & Rice Law Firm today so that we can begin preparing a defense for your case. Submit your information for a free case evaluation from our Knoxville criminal defense attorneys or call our office at 865-249-7200.