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What constitutes theft in Tennessee?

Most Tennesseans have a feel for what constitutes theft. To these individuals, it is merely taking something that doesn't belong to you. However, the law is much more nuanced. This means that it is more difficult for prosecutors to prove that theft has occurred, as they must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Oftentimes this leaves open the opportunity to utilize certain criminal defense techniques that may result in either lesser penalties or,perhaps an acquittal.

Under Tennessee law, for example, an individual can only be convicted of theft of property if he or she knowing controls the property of another person without consent, and he or she does so with the intent to take control of the property away from the property owner. Here, a criminal defendant may be able to challenge many aspects of the crime.

For example, even if an individual takes property, he or she may not have had the intent to deprive the owner of control of the property. In other words, there may have been some explicit or implicit agreement that the accused individual would take the property. If this were the case, then an individual may also claim that he or she had consent to take the property into his or her possession.

If convicted of theft, an individual can face harsh penalties. He or she may be dealt a prison sentence, large fines and damage to his or her reputation that may be difficult to repair. Even minor offenses can result in some sort of diversion program, which may include community service. As bothersome as that may sound, it can drastically interfere with one's day-to-day life.

Developing a criminal defense strategy is something that takes skill, time and attention to detail. It also takes a strong knowledge of the law and how to use it to one's advantage. This is why many Tennesseans who have been accused of theft and property crimes turn to experienced criminal defense attorneys for help.

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Rob McGuire Law
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Nashville, TN 37203

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