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Theft and Vandalism


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Though each different kind of theft generally has its own definition, the State of Tennessee defines the theft of property when one steal with the intent to deprive. The property must also be taken without the owner's consent (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-103).

It is important to note that the state does not make the distinction between depriving the owner of the property for one day or four years, or permanently. It is simply a taking "with intent to deprive the owner of the property."

In Tennessee, vandalism is punished as a theft. This crime includes knowingly damaging or destroying property of another without their consent.

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What is theft in Tennessee?

A "theft" can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the value of the property or services that were stolen.

• If the property or services stolen had a value of less than $500.00, then the theft is a Class "A" misdemeanor.
• If the value of the property or services stolen was over $500.00 but less than $1,000.00, then the theft is a Class "E" felony.
• If the value of the property or services stolen is more than $1,000.00 but less than $10,000.00, then the theft is a Class "D" felony.
• If the theft of property or services values greater than $10,000.00 but less than $60,000.00, the theft is a Class "C" felony.
• Finally, if the value the property or services exceeds $60,000.00, the theft is a Class "B" felony.

Similarly, the value of the property damaged in a vandalism case determines the class of the crime and the punishment therefore. Specifically, acts of vandalism are to be valued according to the provisions above and punished as theft.

How Is Value Determined?

Pursuant to Tennessee law, one would make that determination by either looking to the current market value at the time it was stolen or vandalized. If the value cannot be calculated, the law looks to the cost it would take to replace the property.

If you are facing a charge of theft or vandalism, you want a skilled Clinton criminal defense attorney on your side. In this difficult time, contact The Cantrell Law Firm to advise you of your rights. We offer free, confidential consultations. Contact us immediately at 865-457-9100.

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