Nashville Theft Crime Defense Attorney
Seasoned Guidance In Davidson County And Throughout Middle Tennessee
Even a seemingly minor theft offense can lead to criminal charges and produce life-changing consequences. Hiring qualified legal representation can help you avoid these negative outcomes.
If you have been accused of shoplifting or have been charged with criminal theft, I am criminal defense attorney Chelsea Nicholson and at Chelsea Nicholson, Attorney at Law, have over 16 years of legal experience and can help you build a capable defense. I care about your case and can provide the compassionate representation you need in this difficult moment. I understand how prosecutors approach theft cases of all severity and can leverage my knowledge to put you in the best possible position.
What Is Considered Theft In Tennessee?
In the state of Tennessee, “theft” refers to any situation where someone takes another party’s property without their consent and does not intend to give it back. Embezzlement, larceny, conversion and robbery are all considered forms of theft. Many people are especially familiar with robbery, which can be charged when someone forcibly steals property.
It is also unlawful to steal services, which can occur when:
- Someone leaves a business without paying (like when someone skips out on a check at a restaurant).
- Someone procures services through forgery, coercion, fraud or some other deceptive means.
- Someone exploits services intended for someone else.
I am familiar with how to handle all types of theft offenses. I can help you understand your specific charges and review your defense strategy options.
Avoiding Criminal Charges For Shoplifting
People make mistakes. Shoplifting is a common offense that is often the result of impulsive behavior and will only involve the theft of relatively inconsequential, low-value property.
Someone may be charged with shoplifting in Tennessee if they:
- Attempt to take merchandise from a store without paying for it
- Hide merchandise in a bag or on their person
- Remove or switch merchandise tags
- Remove or circumvent any security devices attached to merchandise
A single bad decision should not ruin your life. Fortunately, shoplifters can sometimes avoid criminal charges and penalties if the offense involves merchandise valued at less than $500. Prosecutors may allow a store owner or merchant to sue in civil court for damages. However, this option is generally only entertained if the stolen goods are returned in good condition. If the suit is successful, the defendant may be expected to pay two to three times the merchandise’s retail value.
I can fight for you if you have made an unfortunate error in judgment. I can work to negotiate a civil remedy instead of criminal prosecution to minimize the negative consequences you experience.
“I came out completely vindicated and in the clear.” – Ben (review from Google)
Criminal Penalties For Theft In Tennessee
The severity of the charges you will face for theft offenses will depend on the total value of the goods and services involved. The greater the value, the more serious the charges.
In Tennessee, a theft offense will be charged as a:
- Class A misdemeanor – if the offense involves goods or services valued at $1,000 or less. Penalties can include a $2,500 fine and up to 11 months and 29 days of jail time.
- Class E felony – if the offense involves goods or services valued at more than $1,000 but less than $2,500. Penalties can include a $3,000 fine and up to six years of incarceration.
- Class D felony – if the offense involves goods or services valued at more than $2,500 but less than $10,000. Penalties can include a $5,000 fine and up to twelve years of incarceration.
- Class C felony – if the offense involves goods or services valued at more than $10,000 but less than $60,000. Penalties can include a $10,000 fine and up to fifteen years of incarceration.
- Class B felony – if the offense involves goods or services valued at more than $60,000 but less than $250,000. Penalties can include a $25,000 fine and up to thirty years of incarceration.
- Class A felony – if the offense involves goods or services valued at more than $250,000. Penalties can include a $50,000 fine and up to sixty years of incarceration.
Stiffer penalties or, “sentencing enhancements,” are for someone who is considered a multiple offender, persistent offender or career offender. Multiple offenders are individuals who are charged with their third, fourth or fifth felonies. Persistent offenders are those charged with their sixth or seventh felonies, while career offenders are individuals charged with seventh or subsequent felonies.
No matter your situation, I am prepared to work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome. Sentencing alternatives are sometimes available to defendants whose offenses involve goods or services valued at less than $1,000. In these cases, I may be able to negotiate suspended sentences and restitution in lieu of incarceration. I regularly utilize expert testimony and other science-based solutions to support the defense strategies and will leverage all available resources to obtain favorable results in your case.