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Teenage shoplifters can face harsh consequences

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2018 | Theft & Property Crimes

The pressure for teenagers and young people to keep up with the latest fashions can be very strong. With the rise of social media influence, many young people feel the immense need to have the latest trends and designer styles, even when they only have a small allowance with which to pay for it.

This immense pressure can, unfortunately, lead to foolish and illegal decisions. Some teenagers resort to shoplifting and petty theft in order to be the best dressed. While petty theft may sound like no big deal, it can actually lead to quite serious consequences in the state of Tennessee, even for minors. It is important that minors and their parents know exactly what actions to take after an accusation of theft has been made.

What are the consequences of misdemeanor theft in the state of Tennessee?

Misdemeanor theft

is defined in Tennessee as any type of theft of property or services that were valued at less than $1,000. The charge of such a crime depends quite heavily on the exact circumstances and the specific value of the item or items stolen. However, in general, the State of Tennessee charges misdemeanor theft as a Class A misdemeanor. This means that the crime can be punishable by 11 months and 29 days in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.

What can I do if my child has been accused of misdemeanor theft?

It is important to remember that a misdemeanor theft accusation should be treated seriously. In addition, if your child was working in a gang of shoplifters and he or she did not personally steal the item but worked purposefully with them by distracting members of staff, your child could still be charged with the crime of shoplifting.

There are many defenses that can be used against shoplifting accusations. For example, it could have been an honest mistake and your child may be able to explain his or her actions.

If dealt with efficiently, many first-time  shoplifters can receive first offender status and diversion and may be given community service instead of jail time. It is important that you take swift action in Tennessee for any shoplifting or misdemeanor theft conviction.

State Bar of Georgia
TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association

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