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What Is Considered Vandalism in Tennessee?

Knoxville Vandalism Attorney

Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-14-408 defines vandalism as intentionally damaging or polluting land, buildings, or personal property of an individual or the local, state, or federal government. It is also illegal to tamper with another’s property in a way that causes financial loss or inconveniences the owner or a third party. Releasing chemicals or other harmful substances into the air, water, or soil to intentionally cause injury to others is also unlawful.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, vandalism is one of the top three crimes in the state. Generally defined, the offense is committed when a person destroys the property of another individual or entity. Whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends on the level of and cost of damage.

The act does not have to be committed against the property that a person is currently in control of. For example, if an individual breaks a window of an unoccupied building, they could be charged with vandalism. If they enter that structure without permission, they could also be charged with criminal trespassing.

Is Vandalism a Felony in Tennessee?

If the vandalism of the item or property is valued at less the $500 the crime is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Anything worth up to $1k is a Class E felony, up to $10k is a Class D felony, up to $60k is a Class C felony, & more than $60k is a Class B felony.

The penalties for vandalism vary depending on the level of offense. If a person is convicted of a misdemeanor, they could face up to 1 year in jail and $2,500 in fines. A felony conviction could result in prison time anywhere from 1 to 30 years and $3,000 to $25,000 in fines.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Eldridge and Cravens, PC

Being charged with a criminal offense such as vandalism can be a frightening experience, as you might not be aware of how the process works or how the charge could affect your future. That is why our skilled team is here to provide effective defense every step of the way. We will work closely with you to help you understand the allegations and your legal options. Additionally, our attorneys will take the time to hear your side of the story and develop an effective strategy to fight charges.

To speak with one of our attorneys, call us at (865) 544-2010 or contact us online.