Trust us to protect your future from the penalties of a conviction
Tennessee courts take a strict stance against individuals charged with shoplifting by imposing severe penalties upon those convicted of an offense. If you have been charged with shoplifting, do not speak to authorities. Instead, contact an attorney immediately to begin planning your defense.
The Murfreesboro shoplifting defense attorneys at the law firm of Pate & Knott aggressively defend clients throughout the area. With more than 45 years of combined experience, our Tennessee criminal defense lawyers have what it takes to defend you against even the most serious shoplifting theft charges.
How does Tennessee prosecute shoplifting offenses?
Under Tennessee law, shoplifting is known as theft of property. An individuals who is suspected of same are prosecuted under one of two types of charges, including:
- Theft of property: Individuals who purposefully or attempt to remove physical merchandise from a place of business are often charged with theft of property. These offenses are charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the value of the merchandise.
- Theft of services: Fraudulently obtaining service is considered as theft of services under Tennessee law. Common cases charged under the theft of service offense involve leaving a restaurant without paying for a meal and deceiving a service provider into providing services without then paying them for their work.
Either type of charge with services or merchandise valued under $500 is considered a misdemeanor, while cases involving value over $500 are charged as felonies.
We provide aggressive legal representation to individuals charged with either type of shoplifting offense in an effort to limit the harm stemming from a conviction.
Why is it important to hire an attorney to combat the penalties resulting from a Tennessee shoplifting conviction?
Far too many people mistakenly believe that shoplifting is a minor offense with minor penalties. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. Even a first conviction for shoplifting can result in a wide range of significant penalties, including:
- Fines: Misdemeanor shoplifting convictions carry up to a $2,500 dollar fine and up to eleven months and twenty nine days in jail. Felony convictions carry up to $25,000 in fines. Protecting your finances against the damage caused by these hefty fines is important o both your short and long term future.
- Community service: Some judges may sentence convicted shoplifters to community service hours. Fulfilling these hours may impact your personal life, your career and your wallet.
- Jail time: Some shoplifting convictions may lead to significant jail time. The imposition of jail time often depends upon the value of the merchandise shoplifted, the offender's record and other factors.
- Probation: In lieu of jail time, a judge may sentence you to a lengthy probation term. Probation limits many freedoms while requiring you to meet regularly with a probation officer and maintain specific living and employment arrangements. Individuals charged with crimes while on probation face increased penalties.
- Criminal record: A shoplifting conviction may stay on your criminal record for years, if not permanently. While it may seem small, such a record may impact your ability to obtain employment, enroll in college or rent an apartment. This is especially true for individuals with multiple shoplifting convictions on their records.
- Civil action: Even if you or your child are not convicted of a shoplifting offense, the store owner may have the legal right to pursue compensation for the value of the lost merchandise. Depending upon the merchandise in question, this civil action may cost a significant amount of money.
Facing prosecution without legal representation leaves you open to any number of these penalties. With our skilled Murfreesboro shoplifting defense attorneys at your side, your chances of avoiding unnecessary penalties is greatly increased.
We explore all available legal strategies to limit the harm caused by a shoplifting conviction
Depending upon your criminal history and the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you may have several options for mounting a defense. Our Murfreesboro shoplifting defense attorneys help you explore all available legal strategies, including:
- Plea negotiation: In some cases, negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution is a viable strategy for reducing the penalties of a conviction. Plea negotiation is especially effective for first time offenders.
- Court trial: If a plea deal is unavailable or against your best interests, taking your case to court trial may help you avoid or limit the harm stemming from a conviction. Our Murfreesboro shoplifting defense lawyers leverage years of courtroom experience to provide the aggressive trial defense your future deserves.
- Alternative sentencing: Tennessee laws, known as pretrial diversion, provide alternative sentencing options for first time offenders. These programs often require you to complete probation or community service and stay out of trouble – completing the program may lead to a dismissal of your charges or the removal of the conviction from your criminal record.
Whatever strategy you choose to pursue, we fight to protect your future from unnecessary harm caused by a shoplifting conviction.
Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your defense options with our Murfreesboro shoplifting defense lawyers
At the law firm of Pate & Knott, our Murfreesboro shoplifting defense attorneys provide aggressive defense to clients throughout the Rutherford County area. With more than 50 years of combined experience, we have the skill and knowledge to help you mount the most aggressive defense possible.
In an effort to help you understand your rights and legal options, we are happy to offer consultations. To begin planning your defense against shoplifting charges, contact us online or call 615-848-1221 today. Our Murfreesboro law office is located on the square, near the judicial building. Evening and weekend appointments are available for your convenience.