What a difference a mere dollar can make.
It might get you fries with that sandwich. It can get your vehicle a few miles further down the road. For some lucky individuals, it might just purchase a lottery ticket.
The counting of one extra buck might also get you this in Tennessee, though, if luck turns out not to be on your side: five extra years locked behind bars in a state prison following a felony theft conviction.
Felony theft comprises subject matter that is being debated with some fervor across the country, given the sharply varying differences among states regarding the threshold dollar amounts applicable to the value of stolen items that will change a misdemeanor charge to a felony offense.
In Tennessee, for example, relevant statutory law addressing theft offenses provides that theft of $500 or less is deemed a misdemeanor offense, which carries a maximum potential prison term of 11 months and 29 days.
Throw that above-cited extra buck in there (making, say, the valuation of a stolen television set $501), though, and the charge becomes "Class E Felony Theft," which can put an offender behind bars for six years.
A recent national media article puts a strong spotlight on the marked disparities that exist across the country regarding theft-related arrests and outcomes.
Truly, the chasm is wide. A $200 theft in Virginia is a felony. In Texas and Wisconsin, the felony threshold is not reached until an assessed value of stolen items or services reaches $2,500.
Any individual facing theft charges has an obvious and immediate need to secure proven legal advocacy. An experienced defense attorney can provide timely and aggressive representation aimed at securing a best-case outcome for any person accused of a theft offense.