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Tennessee 39-14-116. Hindering secured creditors

What does hindering secured creditors mean in Tennessee, and what are the penalties for doing so?

I am wondering what hindering a secured creditor in Tennessee means exactly. What qualifies as hindering a secured creditor?

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Tennessee

Tennessee is unique in that it criminalizes what is most often a civil matter in other states. Under Tennessee 39-14-116 it is a class E felony to commit any act that hinders the creditor’s ability to enforce its security interest in the property you possess. You may not destroy, remove, or otherwise harm the value of any of your property with the intent to hinder enforcement of a security interest held by another on that property. Conviction of a class E felony in Tennessee could result in a prison term of one to six years, and fines up to $3,000.

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Tennessee 39-14-116. Hindering secured creditors

The following is Tennessee 39-14-116:

(a) A person who claims ownership of or interest in any property which is the subject of a security interest, security agreement, deed of trust, mortgage, attachment, judgment or other statutory or equitable lien commits an offense who, with intent to hinder enforcement of that interest or lien, destroys, removes, conceals, encumbers, transfers, or otherwise harms or reduces the value of the property.

(b) For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

   (1) “Remove” means transport, without the effective consent of the secured party, from the state or county in which the property was located when the security interest or lien attached; and

   (2) “Security interest” means an interest in personal property or fixtures that secures payment or performance of an obligation.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class E felony.

Recommendation

Consult with a Tennessee attorney who has experience in criminal law. He or she will review the facts in your situation and advise you precisely regarding your rights and liabilities. See also the Bills.com article Tennessee Collection Laws to learn more about your rights and liabilities as a Tennessee resident.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

18 Comments

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  • CW
    May, 2014
    candy
    Tennessee Car Title Loans in Johnson City, TN threatened to charge me with a Class E felony and have me arrested if I don't give them either the car or $1,000 today! I took out the car title loan several months ago, and made the first few payments on time. I hit a deer and did not have the money to have the car towed or fixed. I called them and told them where to go pick it up. They informed me that they do not go out and pick up cars that I would have to bring it to them, and it was towed somewhere the next day. Now today they tell me that it wasn't them that took the car and I need to either get it and bring it to them or give them the money immediately or I will be arrested. I offered to give them $100, which is all I have but that wasn't good enough. I kept in contact with them and tried to get them to tow the car. Can they still file charges against me?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      May, 2014
      Bill
      Reread the Tennessee statute above. This is a specific intent crime. Your local district attorney or prosecutor needs to have evidence you the consumer are trying to hinder the lender. If you can show you are cooperating in trying to locate the missing vehicle, it is unlikely you will be charged with this crime. That said, you would be wise to contact your local police, sheriff's department, or state police to find the tow yard where your problem is now parked.
      0 Votes

  • JP
    Apr, 2014
    james
    Received warrant for hindering secured creditor in 2009.. Also secured property was repossessed by lien holder same day and has been sold. I live in a different state than that of the lien holder. Can lien holder sell property or the (evidence) and still leave the hindering secured creditor warrant open for prosecution? They received their property and it was sold for enough money to cover the debt. It has been 5 years now.
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Apr, 2014
      Bill
      You need more help than someone can share in a Web posting or e-mail message. Consult with a lawyer in your state of residence who has criminal law experience immediately. Bring all of your documents regarding the repo and the warrant to your meeting. Your lawyer will advise you in how to respond to the warrant.
      0 Votes

  • RR
    Nov, 2012
    Russell
    Is there a statue of limitation on repossessed vehicles that have not been found or turned in?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Nov, 2012
      Bill
      I am unaware of any statute of limitations for a lien on a vehicle's title. Therefore, there is no time limit I can find for a creditor to start a repossession.

      Repossession laws vary from state to state. The best answer to your question is to consult with a lawyer in your state who has consumer law experience. He or she will ask questions about your circumstances, and will research your state's statutes and case law to give you a useful answer.
      0 Votes

  • HS
    Jun, 2012
    Hailey
    A friend traded in her car at a buy-here pay-here lot, and paid a $300 down and made several payments. She found the passenger side floorboard had a big hole in it plus the car was having electrical problems. She took the car back to the lot and they said there was nothing they could do about it, so she simply stopped making payments as she told them she would. She still owes money on it but doesn't have the car any more and they are trying to repossess it. What can they do legally?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Jun, 2012
      Bill
      Did the dealer make any representations about the condition of the car to your friend? Did your friend have a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchase? Where is the vehicle now?

      To minimize the amount of expenses your friend will need to pay, she should bring the vehicle to the lienholder, which is probably the buy-here pay-here dealer. Tell her to do so immediately. Then your friend will need to resolve the deficiency balance issue.

      You ask your question on a page that concerns Tennessee vehicle repossession law. If your friend is a Tennessee resident, then she is subject to criminal prosecution if she hinders the lienholder from repossessing the vehicle. That is why her safest course of action is to return the vehicle at once, and then resolve the financial consequences later.
      0 Votes

    • KW
      Feb, 2013
      Kristy
      I suggest she return the car a soon as possible. The creditor can easily have her arrested for hindering. My husand was, and it cost $587.00 to get him out. NOT FUN!
      0 Votes

  • MN
    May, 2012
    Max
    Has there been a ruling when a secured creditor has refused collateral stating all they want is their money, demanding PAYMENT IN FULL ONLY, for months refusing to accept payments and months later files as a secured creditor. It's like the creditor would loose their rights as a secured creditor when they have refused the collateral. What do you think?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      May, 2012
      Bill
      You raise an interesting estoppel theory. Consult with a lawyer in your state who has experience in consumer law to learn if you have any case law precedent on your side.
      0 Votes