If you have been arrested on shoplifting charges in the state of Tennessee, you may feel overwhelmed, unsure of where to turn, and uncertain of what legal options may be available to you. It is wise to consult with a Chattanooga shoplifting lawyer right away if you have been accused of committing this crime as the consequences of a conviction can be severe.
An experienced criminal defense attorney could support you throughout your case and fight on your behalf. In some cases, it may be possible to get a shoplifting charge reduced or dismissed entirely. A theft attorney could ensure you understand the full breadth of your defense options and explain the law as it pertains to your criminal matter.
The crime of shoplifting falls under the state’s laws concerning theft. According to Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-14-146, a person can be charged with shoplifting if they take or hide goods, resolving to withhold payment from the merchant. A person could also be charged with shoplifting if they, purposing not to pay for the goods in question, change the price tag, alter the cash register to show a lower price than the actual price of the item, or take the goods out of one receptacle and place them in another.
Utilizing an object to perpetrate the theft of property, intervening with the fire alarm system to perpetrate theft of property, or dismantling an anti-shoplifting device to carry out the theft of property are all acts that may be charged as shoplifting. A Chattanooga attorney could help someone determine a plan of action to launch a compelling defense if they are facing shoplifting charges.
A wide variety of punishments may be imposed when someone is convicted of shoplifting, ranging from misdemeanor to felony penalties. The value of the goods involved primarily determines the penalty category a shoplifting offense falls into. Tennessee law also states that if someone is convicted of shoplifting five or more times over two years, the offense is elevated to the next penalty category up.
If the alleged offense is chargeable as a Class B felony based on the value of the goods, but the individual has been convicted for shoplifting five or more times in the past two years, they would instead face Class A felony penalties if convicted. A local shoplifting defense attorney could help someone understand the punishments for their specific shoplifting charge, and evaluate potential options to mitigate the charge.
The most moderate penalties are reserved for shoplifting offenses categorized as Class A misdemeanors. A shoplifting charge is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the goods involved is no greater than $500. Class A misdemeanor convictions carry a maximum jail sentence of 11 months and 29 days. A person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor shoplifting offense may also be required to pay a $2,500 fine.
The penalties for shoplifting increase with the value of the goods. If the shoplifted goods were valued at least $1,000 but below $10,000, the offense would be punishable as a Class D felony. A Class D felony carries a minimum prison sentence of two years, but the jail sentence could be as much as 12 years. A $5,000 fine may also be imposed.
The highest penalty class for shoplifting charges is a Class A felony. A shoplifting offense is chargeable as a Class A felony if the case involves goods valued at $250,000 or above. With a Class A felony shoplifting charge, a conviction would mean up to 60 years in jail, and a financial penalty as high as $50,000.
If you or your loved one has been arrested for shoplifting, you should not waste any time to secure a defense attorney for your case. A Chattanooga shoplifting lawyer could put their experience to work on your behalf and seek a favorable verdict in your case. Schedule a confidential consultation with a Chattanooga attorney by calling today.