In Tennessee, auto theft is defined as the taking or exercising control over property that belongs to someone else without the owner’s permission, and with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.

The theft law applies both to a person who steals to sell cars and to the person who buys cars knowing that they have been stolen. Thefts are punished based on the value of the property stolen.

Carjacking, where someone uses force, a weapon or intimidation to take control of a vehicle, is the most serious of the auto theft crimes.

In addition:

  • If you fail to return a rental vehicle, you can be charged with theft.
  • If you take a car on a joyride, without the owner’s permission, you can be charged with theft.

In every case, a conviction can result in serious fines and/or prison time. If you are charged with theft, contact James R. Owen and his team to ensure you get the best defense.

Penalties

  • Theft of a vehicle worth $500 or less and joyriding are Class A misdemeanors. They are punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in prison and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
  • Theft of a vehicle worth more than $500 but less than $1,000 is a Class E felony.  A conviction could result in a sentence of one to six years in prison and/or a fine of up to $3,000.
  • Theft of a vehicle worth $1,000 or more but less than $10,000 is a Class D felony. A conviction could result in two to 12 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Theft of a vehicle worth between $10,000 and $60,000 is a Class C felony, which could result in three to 15 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000.
  • Theft of a vehicle worth $60,000 or more but less than $250,000 is a Class B felony.
  • Carjacking is a class B felony.  Class B felonies could result in eight to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.

If you face auto theft charges, James R. Owen and his team will work to help you get you the best possible outcome.

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If you have been accused of a crime, we want to talk to you. If you have a court date scheduled, please provide that information.
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