Tennessee Felony

Felonies in Tennessee

Tennessee offenses are distinguished by the gravity of each offense. These range from capital offenses to misdemeanors. The most serious offenses are felonies. Capital crimes rank just above all other types of felonies. Death and life imprisonment are the only two punishments available for capital crimes.

  1. Felonies follow in order of severity, from the most serious to the least serious. Class A felonies are punishable by imprisonment for no less than fifteen years and no more than sixty years. The jury may also impose a fine of up to $50,000 at their discretion.
  2. Class B felonies can result in a state prison sentence of no less than eight years and no more than thirty years. A jury may also impose an additional fine of up to $25,000 dollars. This is only subject to statutes that provide otherwise.
  3. Unless statutes are provided, Class C felonies are also subject to fines as determined by a jury. This fine can be as much as $10,000, but no more. A prison sentence of no less than three years and no more than fifteen years in state prison is permissible.
  4. Class D felonies are punishable by no less than two years and no more than twelve years. Class D felonies, like other felonies, can have a dual punishment of an additional fine of no more than $5,000 imposed by the jury.
  5. Class E felonies are the final category of Tennessee felonies. These felonies are punishable by up to six years in prison and no less than one year in a state facility. The jury may also levy a fine of up to three thousand dollars.

Common felony crimes in Tennessee

Tennessee is home to a multitude of crimes that are classified as felonies. Felonies are the most serious crimes that a person can be charged with, and they can carry severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal record.

Some of the most common felony crimes in Tennessee include

  • Drug offenses cover many crimes, including possession, distribution, and manufacturing of controlled substances.
  • Assault can be charged as a felony if it results in serious injury or involves a deadly weapon.
  • Theft and burglary involve stealing property or breaking into someone’s home or business with the intent to commit a crime.

Other common felony crimes in Tennessee include sexual assault, domestic violence, white-collar crimes, and homicide.

Each of these crimes carries its specific set of penalties, and the severity of the punishment depends on the circumstances of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history.

It’s important to note that Tennessee takes felony crimes very seriously, and penalties can be harsh. If you’re facing felony charges, it’s crucial to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal options and work to protect your rights.

Drug-related felonies in Tennessee

Drug-related felonies are one of the most common felonies in Tennessee. This includes the possession, sale, or distribution of controlled substances and the manufacturing of drugs. In Tennessee, the severity of the charge and the potential penalty depend on the type and amount of drug involved.

For example, possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor, while possession of more than half an ounce can lead to felony charges. Similarly, possessing drugs like cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine can result in felony charges regardless of the amount.

The sale, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances is considered much more severe and can result in harsher penalties. For example, selling between 0.5 grams and 10 grams of cocaine can result in three to 15 years in prison, while selling more than 300 pounds of marijuana can lead to a sentence of up to 60 years.

Drug-related felonies can also lead to mandatory minimum sentences, meaning that the judge must impose a minimum sentence for the offense regardless of any mitigating circumstances. This can result in extremely harsh sentences for low-level drug offenders.

Property-related felonies in Tennessee

Property-related felonies in Tennessee encompass a wide range of criminal activities. These crimes can be divided into two categories: theft and vandalism.

Theft is a common property-related felony in Tennessee, including burglary, motor vehicle theft, and shoplifting. Burglary, or the act of unlawfully entering a building with the intent to commit a theft, is a serious crime that is charged as a felony in Tennessee.

Vandalism, on the other hand, involves intentionally destroying or damaging someone else’s property. This includes graffiti, public property destruction, and private property damage.

Tennessee has stringent laws regarding property-related felonies; the punishments can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime committed. For example, if the stolen property is valued at more than $1,000, the offender can be charged with a Class D felony with a sentence of up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Violent Felonies in Tennessee

Violent felonies in Tennessee are considered the most serious crimes and can result in harsh penalties. These crimes can include:

In Tennessee, these crimes are classified as either Class A, B, or C felonies, and each carries a different level of punishment. Class A felonies are the most severe and carry a life imprisonment or death penalty sentence. Class B felonies carry a sentence of between 8 and 30 years in prison, while Class C felonies carry a sentence of between 3 and 15 years in prison.

White-collar felonies in Tennessee

White-collar felonies are nonviolent crimes that are typically financially motivated. In Tennessee, white-collar crimes are taken seriously and can result in significant jail time, fines, and restitution. Some common white-collar felonies in Tennessee include embezzlement, money laundering, and fraud.


Embezzlement occurs when someone trusted with money or property, such as an employee, steals or misuses those funds for personal gain. This can include stealing from a company, charity, or government agency. In Tennessee, embezzlement can result in serious penalties, including up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Money laundering

Money laundering involves taking funds obtained illegally and making them appear as if they were earned through legitimate means. This can include funneling money through various accounts or hiding the source of the funds. In Tennessee, money laundering is considered a Class B felony, resulting in up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.


Fraud is a common white-collar crime that involves intentionally deceiving someone for financial gain. This can include insurance fraud, bank fraud, or securities fraud. In Tennessee, fraud can result in serious consequences, including up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.


After the felony class is determined, the accused is tried by a judge or a jury for the designated punishment. In addition to jail time, a judge may impose probation or diversion. If the accused is charged with multiple offenses, he or she may be sentenced to concurrent or consecutive times, where the sentences are consecutive.

For example, a person could be charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor. In this case, one sentence could be for five years, another for twelve years, and another for ten years. Under consecutive sentencing, this person would be imprisoned for 27 years for the crimes.

Penalties for felony convictions in Tennessee

Felony convictions in Tennessee carry severe penalties that can significantly impact your life. The consequences of a felony conviction can range from hefty fines to lengthy prison sentences, depending on the severity of the offense.

In Tennessee, felony offenses are classified into five categories: Class A, B, C, D, and E. Class A is the most severe, while Class E is the least severe. The penalties for each class of felony differ, with Class A felonies carrying the most severe penalties.

Class A felonies carry a potential penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Class B felonies carry a sentence of between 8 and 30 years, while Class C felonies carry a sentence of between 3 and 15 years. Class D felonies carry a sentence of between 2 and 12 years, and Class E felonies carry a sentence of between 1 and 6 years.

In addition to prison time, felony convictions in Tennessee can lead to hefty fines, probation, community service, and mandatory drug and alcohol treatment programs. Convicted felons may also lose their right to vote, own firearms, and hold certain professional licenses. The impact of a felony conviction can be life-long and far-reaching.

Possible Defenses for Tennessee felony charges

If you’ve been charged with a felony in Tennessee, don’t lose hope. There are several possible defenses that you and your attorney can explore to either reduce the severity of the charges or have them dismissed altogether.


One possible defense is self-defense, which applies when you are acting in defense of yourself or someone else. This defense is typically used in cases where physical force was used against another person. Another defense is mistaken identity, which could be argued if you were falsely accused of a crime based solely on being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Illegal search and seizure

In some cases, it may be possible to argue that the evidence against you was obtained illegally, such as through an illegal search and seizure. This could result in the evidence being thrown out and the charges being dropped.

Lack of intent, alibi, and coercion

Other possible defenses include lack of intent, alibi, and coercion. However, the best defense will depend on your case’s specific circumstances. Hence, working with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your situation and determine the best course of action is crucial.


The expungement of a previous misdemeanor or felony conviction can be beneficial in the future. Certain conditions must be met. In most cases, convictions after an arrest must be dropped, a conviction reversed, or a person acquitted of a crime before expungement can be granted. A person who has received a pardon may also seek expungement. Those who have been arrested and convicted of violent felonies, on the other hand, are almost never eligible for expungement. This includes the sealing of records as well.

Most juvenile records are expungable if the person was under eighteen at the time of the crime. However, certain circumstances may prevent a juvenile expungement from being granted.

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