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Theft Crimes in Tennessee

Types of Theft as Classified by Tennessee Law


Crimes categorized as theft involve a variety of offenses as defined by Tennessee law. Generally speaking, theft applies to situations when someone acts to gain ownership of property or goods owned by somebody without payment or consent. If you agree to purchase goods from somebody else but run away with the goods without paying them, you have committed an act of theft.



theft crimes in Tennessee

However, the state of Tennessee also applies the term “theft” to situations involving services. If you hire someone to retile your bathroom and then refuse to pay them for their work once they’ve finished the job, you have committed theft of service. The same would apply to anyone skipping out on a restaurant bill or neglecting to check out of a hotel without settling expenses.


Theft crimes can include, but are not limited to:


  • Petty Theft and/or Shoplifting (generally applicable to items and goods under $500)

  • Grand Theft (everything over the $500 marker)

  • Automobile Theft (taking a vehicle that doesn’t belong to you)

  • Grand Auto Theft (taking a very expensive vehicle or taking a bunch of vehicles that don’t belong to you)

  • Identity Theft (someone gets ahold of your personal information and starts using it to make purchases or engage in services while posing as you)

Tennessee Felony Classifications A to E


- Class A

Class A felony theft occurs when a person is accused of engaging in thievery over $250,000. This felony can mean a jail sentence of up to 60 years and a $50,000 criminal fine.

- Class B

Theft ranges from $60,000 to $250,000 in value. Conviction means up to 30 years in jail and $25,000 in fines.

- Class C

Get caught stealing stuff valued between $10,000 to $60,000 and you can be punished by up to 15 years in prison and stuck with a fine of $10,000.

- Class D

Applies to the $2,500 to $10,000 range of theft. Penalties include up to 12 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

- Class E

Last but not least, this classification applies to thefts of goods and services valued in the $1,000 to $2,500 range. However, Tennessee law also applies Class E felony classifications to the theft of firearms valued under $2,500. Penalties include a $3,000 fine and one to six years in jail.


Anything below the $1,000 rate of a Class E felony theft gets treated by Tennessee law as a Class A misdemeanor charge. Penalties for this charge include up to 11 months in prison a $2,500 in fines.


Sentencing Alternatives/Enhancements


Depending on the nature of the individual crime, it’s possible a person accused of theft in Tennessee may have alternative options to the listed punishments. For example, it’s possible the prosecution may recommend a pretrial diversion program for misdemeanor theft charges. It’s also possible to pay restitution for the theft amount and to leave the matter settled.


However, compounded crimes and the existence of a criminal record may lead to enhanced punishments for the accused. As such, it’s important to have a legal professional with a grounded understanding of Tennessee law available to consider your options. If you or a loved one has been accused or charged with a theft crime, contact the experienced staff of the Clarke Law firm. Attorney David L. Clarke will develop a strategy and plan for your situation to ensure the best possible outcome for your specific case.


Need help? Then contact The Clarke Law Firm today.