Is Burglary a Felony in Tennessee?

person breaking into window

A burglary conviction will be accompanied by a slew of serious consequences in every state. In Tennessee, there are a few different types of burglary that the state recognizes and they are all considered felonies. Three variations range from a Class D felony to a Class B felony. The penalties for each offense vary. If you are facing burglary charges in Tennessee you need to acquire the services of a Memphis theft lawyer to help build your case.

What is the Difference Between Burglary and Robbery?

People sometimes use the two crimes interchangeably, but there is not much overlap between burglary and robbery. There are two elements to burglary. You must enter or remain in a building/structure illegally with the intention of committing another crime once inside. Whether or not the crime is committed after illegal entrance, it is still considered burglary if you intend to do it. Robbery is the crime of stealing someone’s property from them with the use of force including threats of violence or actual harm.

What Are the Felony Charges for Burglary in Tennessee?

The three types of burglary will result in three different punishments. The following are the typical penalties for each class.

Standard burglary is Class D, the least severe of the three, and will therefore result in the most lenient consequences. This crime involves a person unlawfully entering structures or buildings that are not homes or residences with the intent to commit a crime. The penalties include:

  • Jail time of 2 to 12 years
  • Fines of $5,000

Aggravated burglary is a Class C felony and requires that the burglar illegally enter a private residence where someone lives intending to commit a crime. The penalties include:

  • Jail time of 3 to 15 years
  • Fines of $10,000
  • Probation

Especially aggravated burglary is a Class B felony and occurs when a burglar illegally enters a building or structure, whether it is a residence or not, with the intent to commit a crime. This type of burglary refers to instances where the burglar injures a person who is not involved in the crime. The penalties include:

  • Jail time of 8 to 30 years
  • Fines of $25,000
  • Probation

What Are My Defense Options?

There are a few defense options you can use when facing burglary charges. You will benefit from the help of an experienced attorney when using any of the following arguments.

  • Mistaken identity
    • If you were falsely accused, your lawyer could argue that you were misidentified as the culprit.
  • No intention to commit a felony inside
    • If you did enter the property illegally but did not intend to commit another crime, you could receive less harsh penalties.
  • You were on the property legally
    • If you were allowed to enter the building or property you could argue that there was no unlawful entry involved.
  • You committed a different crime
    • Shoplifting and burglary sometimes overlap. If your lawyer can negotiate your charges to be considered shoplifting or another crime instead, there may be less severe consequences involved, depending on the specifics of your case.