Different types of allegedly criminal conduct are penalized in different ways by Tennessee courts. Many factors can influence whether a person will walk away with a fine or a jail sentence for a criminal conviction. This post will focus on one type of alleged crime -- theft -- and the different factors that can augment the penalties that will attach after a conviction.
A theft occurs when someone allegedly takes something that does not belong to them with the intention of depriving the owner of the item of its possession. The first factor therefore that can influence the type of penalty the person will face will be the value of the item that was allegedly taken. For example, a person who allegedly steals a car may face a stronger penalty that a person who allegedly steals a paperback book.
Another factor that can influence the sentencing of a theft crime is whether the alleged thief has a history of allegedly criminal conduct. If a person has never faced criminal charges before, the court may be less harsh on them when issuing their sentence. If, though, the individual has a criminal record and that record includes prior theft convictions, the court may impose a stronger sentence to discourage further allegedly illegal conduct by the individual.
These are only a few of the considerations that courts may make when they are issuing punishments for alleged theft crimes. It is important that individuals work with professionals to understand their criminal defense options. Individual case guidance cannot be gleaned from this post and readers are encouraged to use it for information only.