Theft crimes in Tennessee are not handled lightly. Shoplifting is one type of theft crime that has severe penalties if convicted. A charge for shoplifting involves large potential fines along with possible jail time. On top of that, merchants can sue the defendant to recover damages for the theft. Many assume that shoplifting only entails taking items out of a store without paying but there are numerous other actions that are considered to be acts of shoplifting, including:
- Taking merchandise from a store
- Changing price tags on items to pay a lesser amount
- Changing the containers of items to pay a different price
- Any method of making the cash register charge less than the actual cost of the item
Any action that an individual performs to deprive the store owner or merchant of the full price of their product is considered shoplifting. The criminal and civil penalties following a shoplifting conviction vary according to the merchant and the value of the property involved. The breakdown of the penalties follow the following guidelines.
Property with a value of:
- $500 or less is charged as a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and holds a possible fine of up to $2,500
- Between $500-$1,000 is charged as a Class E felony and is punishable by one to six years in jail and a possible fine of up to $3,000
- Between $1,000-$10,000 is charged as a Class D felony and is punishable by two to 12 years in jail and the possibility of a fine up to $5,000
- Between $10,000-$60,000 is charged as a Class C felony and is punishable by three to 35 years in jail and possible fines up to $10,000
- $60,000 or more is charged as a Class B felony and is punishable by eight to 30 years in jail with a possible fine up to $25,000
On top of the criminal penalties, there are civil penalties that can arise if a merchant decides to sue for damages against the shoplifter. The compensation that a merchant can receive is much more than the actual price of the merchandise taken. Oftentimes, the merchant can receive up to 3 times the cost of the goods. If merchandise is damaged, the owner can also recover up to 3 times the amount of damage done to the product.
Need a lawyer for your shoplifting case in Memphis?
If you are facing shoplifting charges in Tennessee it is important to obtain a skilledMemphis criminal defense lawyer from The Claiborne Ferguson Law Firm, P.A. Hire a certified trial specialist to ensure that you have the best possible legal representation. Our competent lawyers have 35 years of experience fighting for the rights of our clients. Call today to speak with a Memphis criminal defense attorney and see how we may be able to help you fight your shoplifting charges.