The holidays are a particularly busy time for the U.S. Postal Service and other delivery companies. Because of this, it can also be a busy time for so-called Porch Pirates and mail thieves. In fact, roughly 1 billion packages are stolen every year during the holidays.

If you or your child is facing accusations of stealing a package or mail in Tennessee in recent days or weeks, you should know what the repercussions could be.

Package theft vs. mail theft

Not all theft allegations are the same. There are different types of theft and different levels of the offense which can affect the charges and potential penalties a person faces.

As this article discusses, package theft can result in lesser penalties than mail theft. Stealing a package from someone’s porch or front steps is a misdemeanor in Tennessee if the property is worth less than $1,000 and there are no other aggravating factors.

However, theft from a mailbox is an automatic felony because it is theft from a government enclosure, which is a federal crime.

Taking theft allegations seriously

Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony theft charges, you could be facing harsh consequences, from fines to jail time. You could also lose job opportunities and wind up with a stain on your criminal record. The potential penalties increase in cases involving repeat offenses, violence or high-value items.

Committing these crimes in other states could also lead to more severe penalties. 

As such, you should take these accusations seriously and defend yourself to seek a fair outcome. Such outcomes could include dropped or dismissed charges. However, these results can be difficult to secure without the help of a defense attorney who understands state laws and has tools to challenge evidence that may be against you.

Theft is illegal, whether it is from a mailbox or a porch, and whether the stolen property is worth $100 or $10,000. That said, these details are crucial when it comes to filing charges, so it is essential to challenge any questionable or improper evidence that could lead to unfair charges or penalties.