Shoplifting charges can have serious consequences, potentially impacting your reputation, employment prospects, and freedom. If you’ve been accused of shoplifting in the Volunteer State, we are here to help. Contact our dedicated Clarksville, Tennessee shoplifting lawyers so we can get started working on your case.
Shoplifting Lawyers | Protecting Your Future and Reputation
Many people think of shoplifting as a type of “petty” crime, but this simply isn’t the case. In fact, if you’re charged with shoplifting, there’s a strong chance you’ll end up in jail upon conviction. This is why you mustn’t face these charges without a competent team of Montgomery County criminal defense lawyers in your corner.
Defining Shoplifting in Tennessee
Shoplifting, in the context of Tennessee law, refers to the act of intentionally taking merchandise or property belonging to a retail establishment without paying for it. It encompasses various actions, such as:
- Concealing Merchandise: Hiding items on your person, in a bag, or under clothing with the intent to steal.
- Altering Price Tags: Changing or removing price tags or packaging labels to pay a lower price for an item.
- Switching Containers: Transferring merchandise from its original packaging to another container to avoid detection.
- Intentional Under-Ringing: Colluding with an employee or using a self-checkout register to scan items at a lower price than their actual value.
Potential Penalties for Shoplifting in Tennessee
The severity of shoplifting penalties in Tennessee depends on the value of the stolen property and your prior criminal record. That said, some of the potential penalties you may face for shoplifting charges in Tennessee are as follows:
- Class A Misdemeanor: Shoplifting property valued at $1,000 or less is typically considered a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties may include up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and fines of up to $2,500.
- Class E Felony: Shoplifting property valued at more than $1,000 may be charged as a Class E felony. Convictions could result in imprisonment for 1 to 6 years and fines up to $3,000.
- Restitution: In addition to criminal penalties, you may be ordered to pay restitution to the store for the stolen property’s value.
- Civil Penalties: The store may pursue civil penalties, such as a civil demand letter, requiring you to pay a specified amount as a civil settlement.
Potential Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges
When facing shoplifting charges in Tennessee, it’s essential to explore potential defenses with a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Some defenses that may be applicable include:
- Mistaken Identity: If you were misidentified as the shoplifter, a strong alibi or surveillance footage can help prove your innocence.
- Lack of Intent: Shoplifting requires intent to steal. If you accidentally walked out with unpaid merchandise or were unaware of it, your lawyer may argue a lack of intent.
- Entrapment: If you can demonstrate that law enforcement or store personnel induced you to commit shoplifting when you otherwise wouldn’t have, it may be considered entrapment.
- Illegal Search and Seizure: If evidence was obtained through an unlawful search or seizure, it may be deemed inadmissible in court.Age-Related Defenses: Minors may have different legal considerations, and a defense lawyer can help navigate juvenile court proceedings.
- Store Policy Violations: Some stores have policies that must be followed when detaining suspected shoplifters. Violations of these policies can impact the prosecution’s case.
Contact Our Montgomery County, Tennessee Shoplifting Lawyers
Being accused of shoplifting in Tennessee is a serious matter, but it’s important to remember that you have legal rights and options. Our experienced Clarksville shoplifting lawyers can assess your case, build a strong defense strategy, and advocate for your rights throughout the legal process. Don’t face shoplifting charges alone; consult with a qualified lawyer to protect your future and explore the best possible outcome for your case.