What’s the Difference Between Theft, Burglary, and Robbery in Tennessee?

Knowing the differences between theft, burglary, and robbery in Tennessee will help you understand the various consequences for each charge. Though they sound similar, slight variations between theft crimes affect each crime’s associated penalties.

Here’s a quick guide to theft, burglary, and robbery in Tennessee:

Theft

If you take property or services without the owner’s consent, you’re committing theft. Tennessee law uses theft as an umbrella term that covers embezzlement, false pretenses, fraudulent conversion, larceny, and receiving stolen property.

Charges for theft depend on the value of property or services stolen. The charges can range from a misdemeanor to felony. The harshest charge for theft is a Class B Felony if the stolen items or services are valued at over $60,000. This charge comes with an 8-30 year sentence and a fine not to exceed $25,000.

Burglary

Burglary is entering a dwelling, such as a home or business, without the owner’s consent or knowledge and with the intent to commit a crime. Breaking into a house and stealing its contents while the owners are sleeping, for example, is aggravated burglary.

The minimum charge for Burglary starts as a Class E Felony if the structure was a vehicle, which carries a sentence of 1-6 years of prison and a fine of up to $3,000. If the burglary is a business, it is a Class D Felony. However, Aggravated Burglary, which includes entering a residence, can be defined as a Class C Felony.

Robbery

Robbery is using violence or a threat of physical harm to steal from a victim, so it’s a combination of theft and violence. Of all the theft crimes, robbery can carry the harshest penalty, a Class A Felony, with mandatory prison time.  

The minimum charge for robbery starts as a Class C Felony, for a crime like purse snatching.

Aggravated Robbery is a Class B Felony and carries a sentence of 8-30 years. For the crime to be considered Aggravated Robbery, it must involve both theft, and either personal injury to a victim or the use of a weapon to commit the crime. Stealing cash while holding up a store clerk with a gun is an example of Aggravated Robbery.

The third type of robbery is Especially Aggravated Robbery, which means that both a theft occurred and bodily harm was inflicted on a victim. This Class A Felony will carry 15-60 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Facing any legal troubles involving theft charges can have damaging and far-reaching consequences. An experienced theft attorney will work hard to minimize or your charges or get them dropped altogether.

Contact a Chattanooga Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is facing charges for a theft crime, an experienced theft attorney will be your best defense. Contact us at 423.531.2800 to set up a consultation with one of our experienced defense attorneys.

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