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What Are the Consequences of a Shoplifting Conviction in Knoxville TN?
Shoplifting in Tennessee can either be classified as a Class A misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property stolen. Tennessee law draws a clear distinction between the two classifications, but you do not want either on your record. Repeat offenders face increased punishment, and any future employers will be able to see any history of criminal offenses. Employers and any other organizations will check into your background, and any past offenses will definitely be on their radar. You are going to want to find yourself a shoplifting lawyer to fight the charges. Otherwise, conviction means you face full punishment and a permanent record.
When the cost of the stolen merchandise is under $500, the crime is then classified as a Class A misdemeanor by law. Tennessee handles these types of offenses with up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. Conviction can also land you with a $2,500 fine along with jail time, depending on the court's decision. If you shoplift more than $500 worth of merchandise, then the classification of the crime is increased. The crime is then considered a felony and the punishments are much worse.
Felony level shoplifting is a serious matter, much more so than any charges at the misdemeanor level. Stealing $500 to $1,000 nets you a Class E Felony conviction, which is the lowest of felony charges, but it is still plenty serious. You face one to six years of prison time and up to $3,000 in fines. While prison time is unavoidable, you can still avoid jail time by agreeing to community service or taking a preventative class. A shoplifting lawyer will go over your options for legal defense, and help you understand the options available. Repeat offenses in Tennessee will lead to harsher punishments the more convictions you have on record.
Being Accused of Shoplifting
If you or someone you know has been accused of shoplifting, remember that you still have the right to be treated civilly. The investigation needs to be done in a way that is both reasonable and quick. No one can threaten you with violence, delay the investigation, or continue to accuse you if there is no proof of theft.
Shoplifting Laws Involving Minors
The punishment in Tennessee for shoplifting that minors face is much lighter than it is for adults. Juvenile courts aim to teach, and they will administer punishments suitable to the crime and age of the offender. Minors may face consequences including:
The punishment may be light, but a juvenile court record could follow them into adulthood unless it’s sealed. It is best to avoid conviction altogether and hire a shoplifting lawyer to represent you in the Tennessee court of law.
Hire an Attorney to Represent You
Being convicted of shoplifting may seem trivial, but your records will follow throughout the rest of your life. Find a Criminal Defense Attorney in Knoxville, TN to represent you and your interests in the court of law. Fight the charges and keep your record clean so that you can avoid the worst consequences of shoplifting in Knoxville, Tennessee.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.