Property Crimes and Vandalism
If you have been arrested for any type of property crime, including vandalism, it is important to get legal counsel immediately. Here at Burch & Lockhart, our criminal defense attorneys in Manchester understand the serious nature of property crimes in Tennessee and are prepared to fight for your rights and freedom.
Property crimes can carry harsh penalties, not to mention that a conviction of vandalism or any other property crimes can affect your ability to seek and hold employment in the state of Tennessee.
Types of Property Crimes in Tennessee
Generally, a person commits a property crime any time they gain unauthorized control over someone else’s personal property. In the context of property crimes, “control” can be defined as unlawful taking, damaging, and destroying.
Some of the most common types of property crimes in Tennessee are:
The severity of a property crime charge in Tennessee depends on the circumstances of each case. The severity of penalties for a property crime depends on the type and value of the property. Typically, penalties for property crimes in Tennessee range from fines to probation to imprisonment.
How Does Tennessee Law Define Vandalism?
Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) Section 39-14-408 defines vandalism as knowingly causing damage or destroying any real or personal property that belongs to another individual or the government without the property owner’s effective consent.
The law provides that “damage” occurs any time a person:
- Damages or destroys the property;
- Pollutes or contaminates the property; or
- Tampers with the property, causing substantial inconvenience to the owner or resulting in the property’s loss or reduction of value.
Penalties for Vandalism in Tennessee
As with any other type of property crime, penalties for vandalism depend on the type and value of the vandalized property and the extent of damages. Generally, the defendant can face the following types of punishment for vandalizing property in Tennessee:
- Class B felony if the value of the damaged property exceeds $60,000;
- Class C felony if the value of the property is between $10,000 and $60,000;
- Class D felony if the value of the vandalized property does not exceed $10,000 but is not less than $1,000;
- Class E felony if the damaged property is valued between $500 and $1,000; or
- Class A misdemeanor if the destroyed or damaged property is valued at $500 or less.
Defenses to Vandalism Charges in Tennessee
Some of the most common defenses that may be applicable to vandalism charges in Tennessee include:
- Mistake of fact
- Lack of intent
- Mistaken identity
- Mistake in ownership
- Consent was given by the owner
- Accidental damage
It is vital to contact a Manchester vandalism defense lawyer to evaluate your charges and the evidence against you to help you fight a felony or misdemeanor charge. If convicted, you could be facing substantial fines, probation, and/or imprisonment. When your freedom is at stake, you cannot afford to take chances. Get a strong defense strategy for your particular situation. Contact our criminal defense attorneys at Burch & Lockhart today. Call at 931-723-7997 to get a free initial consultation.