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What Acts Constitute Property Crimes in Tennessee?

 Posted on February 25,2020 in Criminal Defense

Anderson County property crimes attorney

Many people consider stealing to be a minor crime, since in many cases, no one gets hurt in the process. While a property crime may not always lead to the injury or death of another person, it is far from a victimless crime. Property crimes often involve taking someone’s belongings away from him or her without permission. This can include physically taking the property from an individual or destroying it. In Tennessee, one out of every 35 people has the chance of becoming a victim of a property crime. In 2018 alone, there were more than 137,708 theft cases in the state of Tennessee. Although it may seem fairly cut-and-dry, many people can face property crime charges without realizing that their actions were considered a criminal act. Some common property crimes include:


In order to commit a burglary, a person must unlawfully enter a structure to commit a theft, an assault, or a felony. “Structures” are not limited to people’s homes, and they can include apartments, trailers, barns, offices, railroad cars, houseboats, stables, vehicles, or ships. Unlawful entry does not need to be done forcefully for it to be considered a burglary. Any burglary that is committed at someone’s place of living may be classified as an aggravated burglary, thus resulting in more serious consequences. Burglary that does not occur in someone’s residence is considered a Class D felony, while an aggravated burglary is a Class C felony. Depending on the type of felony charged, an individual could face between 2 and 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.


There are two classifications for theft: larceny and motor vehicle theft. Larceny theft is the legal term for stealing, while motor vehicle theft only includes the unlawful possession of vehicles. Those who have committed larceny or motor vehicle theft have taken the physical property of another. The sentencing for both of these charges is dependent upon the value of the item(s) stolen. In other words, there are numerous sentences that can be applied for these criminal acts, ranging from Class A misdemeanors to Class A felonies. 


Those facing arson charges may or may not have actually set something on fire. According to the law, anyone who burns or attempts to burn another person’s property has committed arson. Whether the person’s intent was to deprive a person of property or commit insurance fraud, these actions may result in arson charges. This is considered a Class C felony, and charges escalate to a Class B felony if the property burned is a place of worship. Class B felonies are some of the highest offenses that someone can commit, resulting in 8 to 30 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Call a Knox County Criminal Defense Attorney

Like any other crime that is committed, property crimes are taken very seriously by law enforcement, and an alleged offender's intent is sometimes not fully considered in the courtroom. In some situations, the individual facing the charges may not have known his or her actions were illegal. Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney is well-versed in the Tennessee court system, and he can help you determine the best defense strategy for your individual situation. If you are facing any type of criminal charges, contact our tenacious Knoxville, TN property crimes lawyer at 865-281-1000 for a free consultation.



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