Tennessee Criminal Defense

Shoplifting Charges: When Should I Get an Attorney Involved?

In Tennessee, shoplifting charges are considered a serious matter. Not only do you potentially face a lengthy jail sentence and expensive fines, but having a theft conviction on your criminal record can have a negative impact on your personal and professional reputation.

A person commits a theft crime the person intentionally obtains or exercises control over the property without the owner’s consent. Tennessee classifies theft offenses based on the value of the property or services involved in the crime.

For instance, if the value of the property stolen is $500 or less, it is considered a Class A misdemeanor. This type of misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $2,500.

Theft of property that is more than $500, but less than $1,000, is a Class E felony, which results in a maximum prison sentence of six years and a fine of up to $3,000. As you can notice, the more valuable the stolen item is, the harsher the penalties will be.

Additionally, the store owner or seller of the merchandise can seek civil action against the offender. The amount of the civil penalty is based on the condition of the stolen item. This situation typically occurs in shoplifting cases.


If you have been caught shoplifting or stealing something, charged with theft, you are most likely feeling humiliated and filled with regret. Whether you face criminal charges or civil penalties, it is a tough situation to experience alone because the stakes are high.

At Joshua T. Crain, Attorneys at Law, we are committed to protecting your rights and future. Not only can our Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyers help you either get your entire case dismissed or your charges significantly reduced, we can help you expunge your criminal record to avoid having the shoplifting charge follow you for the rest of your life.

For more information, contact us at (615) 200-9409 and schedule a free consultation today.