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Tennessee Theft Laws

Tennessee Theft Laws

 

39-14-101. Consolidation of theft offenses. -

Conduct denominated as theft in this part constitutes a single offense embracing the separate offenses referenced before 1989 as embezzlement, false pretense, fraudulent conversion, larceny, receiving or concealing stolen property, and other similar offenses.


39-14-103. Theft of property. -

A person commits theft of property if, with intent to deprive the owner of property, the person knowingly obtains or exercises control over the property without the owner's effective consent


39-14-104. Theft of services. -

A person commits theft of services who:

(1)  Intentionally obtains services by deception, fraud, coercion, false pretense or any other means to avoid payment for the services;

(2)  Having control over the disposition of services to others, knowingly diverts those services to the person's own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled thereto; or

(3)  Knowingly absconds from establishments where compensation for services is ordinarily paid immediately upon the rendering of them, including, but not limited to, hotels, motels and restaurants, without payment or a bona fide offer to pay.


39-14-105. Grading of theft. -

Theft of property or services is:

(1)  A Class A misdemeanor if the value of the property or services obtained is five hundred dollars ($500) or less;

(2)  A Class E felony if the value of the property or services obtained is more than five hundred dollars ($500) but less than one thousand dollars ($1,000);

(3)  A Class D felony if the value of the property or services obtained is one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more but less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000);

(4)  A Class C felony if the value of the property or services obtained is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more but less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000); and

(5)  A Class B felony if the value of the property or services obtained is sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) or more.


39-14-106. Unauthorized use of automobiles and other vehicles - Joyriding. -

A person commits a Class A misdemeanor who takes another's automobile, airplane, motorcycle, bicycle, boat or other vehicle without the consent of the owner and the person does not have the intent to deprive the owner thereof.


39-14-107. Claim of right. -

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under §§ 39-14-103, 39-14-104 and 39-14-106 that the person:

(1)  Acted under an honest claim of right to the property or service involved;

(2)  Acted in the honest belief that the person had the right to obtain or exercise control over the property or service as the person did; or

(3)  Obtained or exercised control over property or service honestly believing that the owner, if present, would have consented.


39-14-108. Pawned or conveyed rental property. -

(a)  With respect to the theft of rental property, evidence of any of the following shall create an inference of intent to deprive the owner of the rental property, as provided in § 39-14-103:

(1)  The person leasing or renting the property has pawned or otherwise conveyed the property;

(2)  The person leasing or renting the property pursuant to a written agreement presents identification to the owner at the time of the execution of the written agreement which bears a fictitious name, telephone number or address; or

(3)  The person leasing or renting the property pursuant to a written agreement designating the principal location at which the property is to be used, and specifying the date and time when the same is to be returned, fails to return the property to the owner on or before such return date and within ten (10) days after the date of mailing of written notice to return the property sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, deliver to addressee only, and the property is not to be found at the location designated in the lease or rental agreement as the principal place of use of the property.

(b)  Any leased or rented tangible personal property that has been sold, pawned or otherwise disposed of by the person renting or leasing the property during the period of the lease or rental agreement shall be returned to the owner of the property if the property is properly marked and identified as leased or rental property and is no longer needed as evidence against the person, and if the owner of the property can, by serial number, manufacturer's identification number or other sufficient means, demonstrate ownership of the property.

(c)  (1)  Each owner of rental property shall conspicuously mark and identify the property as rented or leased property. The markings shall include, but not be limited to, the name and address of the rental company and the serial number of the property.

(2)  The provisions of subdivision (c)(1) do not apply to motor vehicles, as defined in title 55.


39-14-114. Forgery. -

(a)  A person commits an offense who forges a writing with intent to defraud or harm another.

(b)  As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1)  "Forge" means to:

(A)  Alter, make, complete, execute or authenticate any writing so that it purports to:

(i)  Be the act of another who did not authorize that act;

(ii)  Have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case; or

(iii)  Be a copy of an original when no such original existed;

(B)  Make false entries in books or records;

(C)  Issue, transfer, register the transfer of, pass, publish, or otherwise utter a writing that is forged within the meaning of subdivision (b)(1)(A); or

(D)  Possess a writing that is forged within the meaning of subdivision (b)(1)(A) with intent to utter it in a manner specified in subdivision (b)(1)(C); and

(2)  "Writing" includes printing or any other method of recording information, money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, trademarks, and symbols of value, right, privilege or identification.

(c)  An offense under this section is punishable as theft pursuant to § 39-14-105, but in no event shall forgery be less than a Class E felony.


39-14-118. Illegal possession or fraudulent use of credit or debit card. -

(a)  A person commits the crime of illegal possession of a credit or debit card who, knowing the person does not have the consent of the owner or issuer, takes, exercises control over or otherwise uses that card or information from that card.

(b)  A person commits the crime of fraudulent use of a credit or debit card who uses, or allows to be used, a credit or debit card or information from such card, for the purpose of obtaining property, credit, services or anything else of value with knowledge that:

(1)  The card is forged or stolen;

(2)  The card has been revoked or cancelled;

(3)  The card has expired and the person uses the card with fraudulent intent; or

(4)  For any other reason the use of the card is unauthorized by either the issuer or the person to whom the credit or debit card is issued.

(c)  (1)  Fraudulent use of a credit or debit card is punishable as theft pursuant to § 39-14-105 depending on the amount of property, credit, goods or services obtained.

(2)  If no property, credit, goods, or services are actually received or obtained, illegal possession or fraudulent use of a credit card is a Class B misdemeanor.


39-14-119. Reporting of credit or debit card lost, stolen or mislaid. -

(a)  Any person who reports or attempts to report a credit or debit card as being lost, stolen, or mislaid knowing the report to be false violates this subsection (a).

(b)  Any person who, with intent to defraud, uses a credit or debit card or information from such card, which has previously been reported lost, stolen or mislaid, violates this subsection (b).

(c)  A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor.


39-14-138. Theft of trade secrets. -

(a)  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1)  "Article" means any object, material, device, or substance or copy thereof, including any writing, record, recording, drawing, sample, specimen, prototype, model, photograph, micro-organism, blueprint or map;

(2)  "Copy" means any facsimile, replica, photograph or other reproduction of an article, and any note, drawing or sketch made of or from an article;

(3)  "Representing" means describing, depicting, containing, constituting, reflecting or recording; and

(4)  "Trade secret" means the whole or any portion or phrase of any scientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula or improvement which is secret and of value. The trier of fact may infer a trade secret to be secret when the owner thereof takes measures to prevent it from becoming available to persons other than those selected by the owner to have access thereto for limited purposes.

(b)  A person is guilty of theft and shall be punished pursuant to § 39-14-105 who, with intent to deprive or withhold from its owner the control of the trade secret, or with intent to appropriate a trade secret to the person's own use or to the use of another:

(1)  Steals or embezzles an article representing a trade secret; or

(2)  Without authority makes or causes to be made a copy of an article representing a trade secret.


39-14-144. Civil liability of adult, parent or guardian for theft of retail merchandise by minor. -

(a)  If the appropriate district attorney general consents to use of this section as provided in subsection (i), in lieu of any criminal penalties imposed by § 39-14-105 for theft offenses, any adult or parent or guardian of a minor who willfully takes possession of merchandise from a retail merchant with the intent to convert the merchandise to personal use without paying the purchase price is subject to civil liability, should the merchant prevail, as follows:

(1)  For the adult or emancipated minor:

(A)  The greater of one hundred dollars ($100) or an amount three (3) times the listed retail price of the merchandise taken if the merchant does not recover the merchandise;

(B)  The greater of one hundred dollars ($100) or an amount three (3) times the difference between the value of the damaged merchandise and the value of the merchandise prior to its conversion if the merchant recovers the merchandise but it is in a damaged state; or

(C)  The greater of one hundred dollars ($100) or an amount twice the listed retail price of the merchandise if the merchant recovers the merchandise in the same condition it was in prior to the conversion; or

(2)  For the parent or legal guardian having custody of an unemancipated minor who has been negligent in the supervision of the unemancipated minor:

(A)  The greater of one hundred dollars ($100) or an amount three (3) times the listed retail price of the merchandise taken if the merchant does not recover the merchandise;

(B)  The greater of one hundred dollars ($100) or an amount three (3) times the difference between the value of the damaged merchandise and the value of the merchandise prior to its conversion if the merchant recovers the merchandise but it is in a damaged state; or

(C)  The greater of one hundred dollars ($100) or an amount twice the listed retail price of the merchandise if the merchant recovers the merchandise in the same condition it was in prior to the conversion.

(b)  Civil liability under this section is not limited by any other law concerning the liability of parents or guardians or minors.

(c)  A conviction for the offense of shoplifting is not a prerequisite to the maintenance of a civil action authorized by this section.

(d)  The fact that a mercantile establishment may bring an action against an individual as provided in this section shall not limit the right of the establishment to demand, orally or in writing, that a person who is liable for damages and penalties under this section remit the damages prior to the consideration of the commencement of any legal action.

(e)  An action for recovery of damages and penalties under this section may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction, including a court of general sessions, if the total damages do not exceed the jurisdictional limit of the court involved.

(f)  If a written agreement is entered into between the merchant and the person responsible for damages and penalties pursuant to this section concerning the liability of the person and the payment of the damages and penalties, the agreement and the contents of the agreement shall remain confidential as long as the parties to the agreement continue to adhere to its terms.

(g)  The civil remedy conferred upon merchants by the provisions of this section shall not apply if the listed retail price of the merchandise taken was in excess of five hundred dollars ($500).

(h)  Use of the civil remedy conferred upon merchants by the provisions of this section shall not be construed to be a violation of § 39-16-604, prohibiting the compounding of an offense.

(i)  Any demand in writing or other document sent to the adult, parent or guardian of a minor covered by this section shall also be sent to the district attorney general of the judicial district in which the offense occurred. If the appropriate district attorney general has not, within ten (10) days from the date the document was sent, objected to the use of this section in lieu of criminal prosecution, the district attorney general is deemed to have consented to the use of this section by the mercantile establishment. If the mercantile establishment does not send a written demand or other document to the adult, parent or guardian, the district attorney general must be notified and must consent, either orally or in writing, to the use of this section in lieu of criminal prosecution.

(j)  Whenever a retail merchant, the merchant's agent, or the merchant's employee apprehends an adult or minor who has committed theft as described in subsection (a), the merchant, agent, or employee shall not at that time enter into any written agreement to accept civil damages in lieu of criminal penalties or actually accept any civil damages.


39-14-145. Civil liability of employees for theft of retail merchandise. -

(a)  If the appropriate district attorney general consents to use of this section as provided in subsection (e), in lieu of any criminal penalties imposed by § 39-14-105 for theft offenses, any employee of a retail merchant who willfully takes possession of merchandise from the retail merchant with the intent to convert the merchandise to personal use without paying the purchase price shall be subject to civil liability should the merchant prevail as follows:

(1)  The greater of one hundred dollars ($100) or an amount three (3) times the listed retail price of the merchandise taken if the merchant does not recover the merchandise;

(2)  The greater of one hundred dollars ($100) or an amount three (3) times the difference between the value of the damaged merchandise and the value of the merchandise prior to its conversion if the merchant recovers the merchandise but it is in a damaged state; or

(3)  The greater of one hundred dollars ($100) or an amount twice the listed retail price of the merchandise if the merchant recovers the merchandise in the same condition it was in prior to the conversion.

(b)  The civil remedy conferred upon merchants by the provisions of this section shall not apply if the listed retail price of the merchandise taken was in excess of five hundred dollars ($500).

(c)  If a written agreement is entered into between the merchant and the person responsible for damages and penalties pursuant to this section concerning the liability of the person and the payment of the damages and penalties, the agreement and the contents thereof shall remain confidential as long as the parties to the agreement continue to adhere to its terms.

(d)  Use of the civil remedy conferred upon merchants by the provisions of this section shall not be construed to be a violation of § 39-16-604, prohibiting the compounding of an offense.

(e)  Any demand in writing or other document sent to an employee covered by this section shall also be sent to the district attorney general of the judicial district in which the offense occurred. If the appropriate district attorney general has not, within ten (10) days from the date the document was sent, objected to the use of this section in lieu of criminal prosecution, the district attorney general shall be deemed to have consented to the use of this section by the mercantile establishment. If the mercantile establishment does not send a written demand or other document to the employee, the district attorney general must be notified and must consent, either orally or in writing, to the use of this section in lieu of criminal prosecution.

(f)  Whenever a retail merchant, the merchant's agent or the merchant's employee apprehends an employee who has committed theft as described in subsection (a), the merchant, agent or employee shall not at such time enter into any written agreement to accept civil damages in lieu of criminal penalties or actually accept any such civil damages.


39-14-146. Theft of property - Conduct involving merchandise. -

(a)  For purposes of § 39-14-103, a person commits theft of property if the person, with the intent to deprive a merchant of the stated price of merchandise, knowingly commits any of the following acts:

(1)  Conceals the merchandise;

(2)  Removes, takes possession of, or causes the removal of merchandise;

(3)  Alters, transfers or removes any price marking, or any other marking which aids in determining value affixed to the merchandise;

(4)  Transfers the merchandise from one (1) container to another; or

(5)  Causes the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the merchant's stated price for the merchandise.

(b)  In a theft prosecution under this section, unless applicable, the state is not required to prove that the defendant obtained or exercised control over the merchandise as required in a prosecution under § 39-14-103.

Identity Theft      
State State Code Statute Title Statute, penalties and restitution

Tennessee

39-14-150















39-16-303

Identity theft
Identity theft trafficking
Restitution















Using a false identification

Class D felony
Class C felony

The following property shall be subject to seizure and judicial forfeiture to the state in the manner provided: (A) Any property, real or personal, directly or indirectly acquired by or received in violation of this section; (B) Any property, real or personal, received as an inducement to violate this section; (C) Any property, real or personal, traceable to the proceeds from the violation; (D) Any property, real or personal, used in connection with or to facilitate a violation of this section; and (E) All conveyances, including aircraft, vehicles or vessels, which are used, or are intended for use, in the commission of or escape from a violation of this section and any money, merchandise or other property contained in those conveyances. Property seized pursuant to this subsection (h) shall be seized and forfeited pursuant to the procedure set out in title 39, chapter 11, part 7. Out of the proceeds remaining, the court shall order restitution be made to the person or persons whose identity was stolen for any identifiable losses resulting from the offense.
Class C misdemeanor

 

 

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Disclaimer
Please note, the theft law information on this page is provided as a courtesy to help explain theft, shoplifting and stealing laws. There is no guarantee or assurance of reliability or validity. Laws change over time and this page may or may not be current. The code that is provided on this site is an unofficial posting of the State Codes. The files making up this Internet version of the State Codes do not constitute the official text of the State Codes and are intended for informational purposes only. No representation is made as to the accuracy or completeness of these sections. While every effort was made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the statutes available Offender SolutionsT shall not be liable or held responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur in these files, they are provided on an "As Is" basis. Use of the information and services are at the sole risk of the user. For official versions of any state's current laws, the user is directed to that states Revised Statutes, all amendments and cumulative supplements thereto published by that state. Please notify the Webmaster if you find any irregularities in the statutes on this web site. The Webmaster will relay the information to appropriate staff to investigate the irregularities. The printed version of the State Codes should be consulted for all matters requiring reliance on the statutory text. If you were involved in a theft or shoplifting incident you are encouraged to consider taking a theft cloass, theft course or shoplifting education class such as the one provided by offender solutions. Research shows theft school and/or theft education can be an effective theft prevention. Offender Solutions™ is an online theft education, shoplifting education class about stealing, it can be very effective if you want to stop stealing. Evan it was a small theft, a petty theft class or petty theft school could be right for you!



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