Theft Lawyer in Alabama: Theft Laws and Penalties by Class (2023)

By: Alabama Theft Attorney Whitney Polson, Criminal Defense Lawyer and Book Author in Birmingham AL

Theft Lawyer in Alabama: Theft Laws and Penalties by Class (1)The penalty that follows an Alabama theft crimes conviction depends on multiple factors. One is the original classification of the Alabama theft charge, when arrested or indicted. Class B felonies are the most serious and are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Felony Theft Amount Alabama Guidelines. Theft by deception Alabama charges can be classified as a Class B felony, a Class C felony Alabama, a Class D felony Alabama, or as a Class A misdemeanor Alabama. No theft crimes in Alabama are Class A felonies, which areare punishable by life in prison or a definite term of 10 to99 years.

The dollar amount involved is one factor in determining maximum theft penalties, such as for a theft by deception felony. In some instances, especially for youthful offenders with no prior history obtains property of another, some type of diversion or possibly a disorderly conduct charge might be negotiated.

However, any prior theft charges (for which convicted) can create a much tougher criminal sentence. Class C felonies are next in line for state prison time and can be punished by up to 10 years of imprisonment. Class D Felonies are punishable with up to 5 years of incarceration.

Alabama theft laws define a theft crime as “knowingly obtain[ing] or exert[ing] unauthorized control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of his or her property.”

Theft Lawyer in Alabama: Theft Laws and Penalties by Class (2)The definition of theft in Alabama also specifically includes:

  • Using some form of deception totake another’s property;
  • Taking possession of stolen property in the custody of a law enforcement agency, and
  • Taking property that has been deposited in a drop box belonging to a charitable organization. (Title 13A 8 2)

Your criminal defense attorney will explain the difference between an Alabama theft felony and an Alabama theft misdemeanor. If the stolen property is a motor vehicle, then an Alabama theft of vehicle is always a felony. Regardless of which law enforcement agency made the arrest,with over 63 years of combined criminal law experience, Whitney Polson and Mark Polson often will be familiar with the officers and their police department.

Theft Lawyer in Alabama: Theft Laws and Penalties by Class (3)Alabama theft penalties may also include restitution, which means paying the rightful owner the value of the item taken, if the item cannot be returned in the same condition. Sentencing can also include rehabilitative programs and/or probation. To best defend against Alabama theft penalties, someone facing these serious charges should contact anAlabama theft lawyerwho will begin working on their case as soon as possible.

(Video) Theft Second Laws in Alabama

Alabama Theft of Property: Misdemeanor or Felony

Alabama Theft of Property Laws are divided in to two main categories, felony, or misdemeanor. Felony Theft in Alabama is characterized as Theft of Property 1st degree, Theft of Property 2nd degree, and Theft of Property 3rd degree. Theft of Property 4th degree is a misdemeanor.

Theft by deception meaning. Most states have a theft by deception laws. In the simplest terms, the crime entails the use of deceitful means to get money or property from others.

Theft of Property 1st Degree Alabama

Alabama Theft of Property 1st degree is a Class B felony Alabama with a range of penalty from 2 – 20 years and up to a $30,000.00 fine and defined as follows:

  1. The theft of property which exceeds two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in value, or property of any value taken from the person of another, constitutes theft of property in the first degree.
  2. The theft of a motor vehicle, regardless of its value, constitutes theft of property in the first degree.
  3. (1) The theft of property which involves all the following constitutes theft of property in the first degree:

    The theft is a common plan or scheme by one or more persons; and

    The object of the common plan or scheme is to sell or transfer the property to another person or business that buys the property with knowledge or reasonable belief that the property is stolen; and

    The aggregate value of the property stolen is at least one thousand dollars ($1,000) within a 180-day period.

    (Video) What You Need to Know About Theft Fourth Degree in Alabama

    If the offense under this subsection involves two or more counties, prosecution may be commenced in one of those counties in which the offense occurred or in which the property was disposed.

Alabama Theft of Property 2nd Degree

Alabama Theft of Property 2nd degree is a Class C felony with a range of penalty from 1 year, 1 day – 10 years and up to a $15,000.00 fine and defined as follows:

  1. The theft of property between one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) in value and two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in value, and which is not taken from the person of another, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.
  2. Theft of property in the second degree is a Class C felony.
  3. The theft of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun, regardless of its value, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.
  4. The theft of any substance controlled by Chapter 2 of Title 20 or any amendments thereto, regardless of value, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.
  5. The theft of any livestock which includes cattle, swine, equine or equidae, or sheep, regardless of their value, constitutes theft of property 2nd degree Alabama.

Theft of Property 3rd Degree Alabama

Alabama Theft of Property 3rd degree is a Class D felony with a range of penalty from 1 year, 1 day – 5 years and up to a $7,500.00 fine and defined as follows:

  1. The theft of property that exceeds five hundred dollars ($500) in value but does not exceed one thousand four hundred and ninety-nine dollars ($1,499) in value, and which is not taken from the person of another, constitutes theft of property in the third degree.
  2. Theft of property in the third degree is a Class D felony.
  3. The theft of a credit card or a debit card, regardless of its value, constitutes theft of property in the third degree.

Theft of Property 4th Degree Alabama

Theft of property 4th Alabama is a Class A Misdemeanor with a range of penalty from 0 days – 365 days and up to a $6,000.00 fine and is defined as follows: The theft of property which does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500) in value, and which is not taken from the person of another constitutes theft of property in the fourth degree.

Other Alabama Theft Laws include Theft of Lost Property, Theft of Services, Theft of Valor, Cargo Theft, Theft of Trademark and Theft of Trade Secrets and Receiving Stolen Property. These additional Alabama theft laws are divided into misdemeanor and felony offenses, similar to theft of property.

When the value of property cannot be ascertained pursuant to the standards set forth above, its value shall be deemed to be an amount not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500).

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The amounts involved in thefts committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the criminal offense. But only one conviction may be had and only one sentence enforced for all thefts included in such aggregate "calculation."

A defendant in Alabama facing prosecution for a theft crime in Alabama may face possible incarceration, fine or both; not to mention collateral consequence of loss of voting, firearm possession and job opportunities. These variables are why you should hire a highly rated Alabama criminal defense lawyer!

Our Alabama criminal defense attorneys try to negotiate dismissal, sentence reductions or amendments (or both) to less serious charges. A major goal for our Alabama theft attorneys is to eliminate the moral turpitude consequence, by perhaps having the charge dismissed or amended.

Our Attorneys in Alabama May Help Get Your Sentence Reduced

Alabama theft lawyersWhitney PolsonandMark Polsonhave been successful in negotiating reduced charges and arguing for dismissals and pre-trial diversion for some of our clients. Every client and his or her prior history of theft crimes is 100% unique.

Sometimes, our efforts require our client to take classes, get evaluated or participate in community service of some type. These conditions and other requirements may be exchanged as part of settling the theft case.

Our goal is for any “eligible” cases to be dismissed and charges withdrawn. Typically, people who have lost property items are interested in retrieving their valuables. If that option (of returning property) is available to us, our theft defense attorneys in Alabama will negotiate for that outcome as well.

Enhanced Theft Sentencing Factors and Sentencing Guidelines

Theft Lawyer in Alabama: Theft Laws and Penalties by Class (4)Alabama has a habitual offender statute that allows enhanced punishment and theft penalties in Alabama for people with a prior criminal history. Alabama also has sentencing guidelines, which are a departure from the traditional statutory provisions.

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For example, a Class B Felony cannot be punished with less than two years’ incarceration nor more than 20 years. However, under the sentencing guidelines, there is a mechanism that weighs out different factors, one of which is prior criminal history.

Probation is possible on any sentence of less than 15 years, dependent on sentencing guideline calculations. However, if you have a 4th offense shoplifting and that person deceives the shop owner more than once, these can be difficult cases.

Theft Lawyer in Alabama: Theft Laws and Penalties by Class (5)One of the consequences of the sentencing guidelines, however, is that judges and prosecutors lose some discretion. A compelling reason must be asserted for a court to depart from the guidelines, and judges sometimes find that it is easier to follow the recommended guidelines than sentencing outside those guidelines.

Therefore, sentencing in Alabama is complex. This underscores the importance of having an experienced Alabama criminal defense theft attorney to interpret and argue the guideline consequences.

What Is 4th Degree Theft in Alabama?

In Alabama, the Legislature has enacted its theft laws as misdemeanor or felony. But the punishment scheme for repeat offenders can drastically ramp up theft crime penalties in Alabama under the Alabama Criminal Code section 13A-8-5.

  1. The theft of property which does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500) in value, and which is not taken from the person of another constitutes theft of property in the fourth degree.
  2. Theft of property in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor. There is no 5th degree theft in Alabama.

An Alabama Theft Lawyer Knows What to Do to Increase Your Chance of a Great Outcome

When you visit our law office, a partner from Polson and Polson will spend time with you and help you understand Alabama misdemeanor or felony theft laws and some of the possible consequences when charged with theft.

Theft Lawyer in Alabama: Theft Laws and Penalties by Class (6)Always a FREE lawyer consultation. Ask our Alabama criminal defense lawyers about payment plans.Callus 24-7 at (205) 871-8838 for legal assistance.

(Video) Theft charges and penalties

Acting quickly is highly important for best results. Once someone speaks to our Alabama attorneys, he or she can understand how to mitigate their theft penalties in Alabama. This usually provides a sense of relief because their Alabama attorney is working hard to obtain the best possible outcome in their criminal case.

FAQs

What is a good punishment for theft? ›

In general, if convicted of a misdemeanor theft, a person might be faced with a maximum $1000 fine and six months in jail. Felony theft crimes are punished with a maximum of three years in prison, restitution to the victim, and a first strike on your California criminal record.

What is the punishment for 3rd degree theft in Alabama? ›

Under Alabama law, third-degree theft is a class D felony in Alabama and carries a penalty of imprisonment of no less than one year and a day up to five years, a fine up to $7,500, or both.

What is 1st degree theft in Alabama? ›

Theft of Property 1st Degree Alabama

The theft of property which exceeds two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in value, or property of any value taken from the person of another, constitutes theft of property in the first degree.

How much money stolen is a felony in Alabama? ›

Once the overall value of the property reaches $500, a simple theft charge becomes a felony. This is as true for embezzlement as it is for shoplifting. Alabama prosecutors can also bring felony charges if the item involved is a motor vehicle, a credit or debit card, a firearm, livestock or controlled substances.

How long do you go to jail for qualified theft? ›

In qualified theft, rule that the maximum penalty cannot exceed twenty (20) years is not applicable. By reason thereof, the court shall sentence the accused to suffer reclusion perpetua (San Diego vs. The Hon.

What are the 4 types of stealing? ›

Under these two main categories, there are many different types of theft, including embezzlement, shoplifting, fraud, and robbery.

What is 4th degree theft in Alabama? ›

(a) The theft of property which does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500) in value and which is not taken from the person of another constitutes theft of property in the fourth degree. (b) Theft of property in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

What is a Class D felony in Alabama? ›

A Class D felony carries a standard sentence of 366 days to five years. Examples include: theft of property worth more than $500 but less than $1,500. fraudulent or unauthorized use of a credit or debit card, and. possession of a controlled substance (illegal drug) for personal use.

How do you defend theft charges? ›

One common and effective defence to a theft charge is to argue that you did not have the mental intention required to be found guilty of this offence. That is, while you may have taken the goods in question, it is also possible that you did not have the fraudulent intent required to be guilty of theft.

What is a Class B felony in Alabama? ›

Examples of Class B felony offenses include, manslaughter, unlawful distribution of drugs, assault 2nd degree, rape 2nd degree, domestic violence 2nd degree, theft of property 1st degree, and burglary 2nd degree.

What is a Class A misdemeanor in Alabama? ›

Class A – Examples of Class A misdemeanors include possession of marijuana for personal use and theft of goods under $500. Punishment range is up one year in prison and/or $6,000 fines. Class B – Examples include resisting arrest and tampering with witnesses.

What is the statute of limitations on theft in Alabama? ›

Statute of Limitations: Felonies and Misdemeanors

The general time limits are: five years for felony offenses, and. one year for misdemeanors.

How much stolen money is considered a felony? ›

Felony theft is determined by the value of the item(s) taken. If the value of the item taken was at least $1,000, that is considered a felony. If it is less than $1,000, it is considered a misdemeanor.

What is a charge of top 4? ›

Theft of Property in the 4th Degree -- TOP4, or Theft of Property in the 4th degree does not exceed $500 dollars in value and is not taken from a person. This is what we usually see as a Shoplifting Charge in Alabama.

What is theft by deception? ›

Definition. Section 15(4) of the Theft Act 1968 read: For the purposes of this section "deception" means any deception (whether deliberate or reckless) by words or conduct as to fact or as to law, including a deception as to the present intentions of the person using the deception or any other person.

How much is the bail for qualified theft? ›

The Department of Justice today said that the value of property in cases of qualified theft that determines whether or not bail can be granted is set at Php222,000. This is the existing policy under Department Circular No. 29 series of 2005.

What is qualified theft penalty? ›

- The crime of qualified theft shall be punished by the penalties next higher by two degrees than those respectively specified in the next preceding article. Thus, if the value of the property stolen is over Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) but does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), as in Criminal Case Nos.

What are the circumstances for theft to be qualified? ›

The elements of Qualified Theft are as follows: (a) the taking of personal property; (b) the said property belongs to another; (c) the said taking be done with intent to gain; (d) it be done without the owner's consent; (e) it be accomplished without the use of violence or intimidation against persons, nor force upon ...

What are the classification of theft? ›

Theft crimes are crimes that involve the unauthorized taking of the property of another with the intent to deprive them of it permanently. Historically, theft involved three different categories of crime: larceny, embezzlement and false pretenses.

What is the highest form of theft? ›

(Depending on the jurisdiction, the crime might be called "first degree" theft.) Laws in many states consider a theft to be grand theft when: The property taken is worth more than a minimum amount, perhaps $500-$1,000 or more. Property is taken directly from a person, but by means other than force or fear.

What is the difference between qualified theft and simple theft? ›

The difference between theft and qualified theft

How is the latter different from the relatively simple act of theft? While the basic principles remain the same, the crime becomes qualified theft if: The crime is committed by a domestic servant; or. The crime is committed with grave abuse of confidence; or.

Can petty theft charges be dropped? ›

There are circumstances in which a court will dismiss a theft charge. If, for example, the case was based on a witness identification of the defendant, but the witness later recants, the prosecutor's case may no longer be strong enough to pursue.

What is theft by deception 2nd degree Alabama? ›

Second degree Theft occurs when the value of the property involved exceeds $1,500 but not $2,500 in value. It can also apply if a firearm, controlled substance, or livestock (of any value) is alleged to have been stolen.

What is Escape 2nd Degree in Alabama? ›

A person commits the crime of escape in the second degree when he/she escapes or attempts to escape from a penal facility.

What is a Class 2 felony in Alabama? ›

Class 2 felonies still can be violent, such as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or manslaughter while intoxicated. In addition, a nonviolent crime such as possession of large amounts of marijuana, human trafficking, arson, robbery and even bigamy often is considered to be this type of crime.

Can you get probation for a felony in Alabama? ›

In Alabama, you can face up to two years probation for a misdemeanor and up to five years probation for a felony. Your initial sentence can be shortened or lengthened under certain conditions, but the probation sentence cannot exceed these limits for a single offense.

Do you get good time on Class A felony in Alabama? ›

The firmest felony convictions fall into Class A Felonies. In the State of Alabama, these convictions will carry a sentence of no less than ten years and no more than life / 90 years in jail.

What Defences are available for theft? ›

What defence is there against a theft charge?
  • Mistaken identity – i.e. you were not involved in the theft.
  • You did not intend to permanently deprive the victim of the item stolen – and therefore the offence does not count as theft.
  • You only played a limited role in the offence.

Is qualified theft bailable? ›

Too, since the prescribed penalty for qualified theft is reclusion temporal in its medium period and maximum periods and not reclusion perpetua (or life imprisonment), the respondent should be entitled to bail as a matter of right.

What is monetary theft? ›

Someone steals your personal financial information (e.g. credit card number, social security number, bank account number) to make fraudulent charges or withdrawals from your accounts. Sometimes people will use the information to open credit or bank accounts and leave the victim liable for all the charges.

What is the statute of limitations for a Class B felony in Alabama? ›

See Alabama Code § 15-3-2. Most Alabama felony offenses have a statute of limitations period of five years.

What are the three classes of felonies? ›

Felony Penalties by Class, Level, or Degree

Class A felonies: The maximum penalty for a class A felony is life in prison. Class B felonies: The maximum penalty for a class B felony is 30 years in prison. Class C felonies: The maximum penalty for a class C felony is 10 years in prison.

Does Alabama have the First Offenders Act? ›

First-time offender programs in Alabama

They are designed as a way to help first-time offenders, young, and otherwise harmless people who do not have a serious criminal record or will not likely be continuing criminal activities. It is essentially a “second-chance” for many individuals.

What is a Class C misdemeanor? ›

Non-traffic Class C misdemeanors include public intoxication, theft of something valued less than $100, possession of drug paraphernalia (but no drugs), assault without any injury (like verbal assault, unwanted touching and family violence), disorderly conduct, minor in possession of alcohol, and more.

What is the highest misdemeanor class? ›

Among misdemeanors, Class A or Level One crimes are the most serious, incurring fines and jail time of up to one year in most states.

What is the most common punishment for a misdemeanor? ›

Misdemeanors are typically punishable by a fine, incarceration or a combination of the two. Felonies, which are the most serious criminal offenses, are generally penalized by both incarceration and a fine. Statutes authorize a range of penalties that can be imposed for misdemeanors.

How long does a bench warrant last in Alabama? ›

In other words, bench warrants do not expire. They are not automatically deleted after, for example, five years if the police fail to find the subject of the warrant. Indeed, the warrant will remain outstanding until the subject dies, unless the judge otherwise recalls or quashes it for some other reason.

Does Alabama have a discovery rule? ›

The Alabama discovery rule suspends the running of the statute of limitations if the circumstances are such that plaintiff cannot reasonably know they have an actionable claim against the defendant. This can be due to their not having “discovered” that they are injured, or that they are legally entitled to sue.

How long does the state of Alabama have to indict someone? ›

In Alabama, the general statute of limitations for misdemeanors is 12 months, while the generic limitations period for felonies is five years. However, the following types of crimes do not have a statute of limitation and can be prosecuted at any time: Any capital offense.

What are the 5 elements of theft? ›

These are: appropriation, property, property belonging to another, dishonesty, and the intention to permanently deprive.

Is theft a criminal or civil law? ›

Criminal law

The term 'crime' is usually used to refer to acts that involve violence against a person; theft or property damage, but also includes actions such as parking where you are not allowed to park, and 'white-collar' crimes such as embezzling, insider trading, etc.

How much money is considered a federal offense? ›

Amount of money is a federal crime

This means that penalties and jail sentences are feasible for any sum of at least $1000, regardless of whether it is real estate, public records, or other assets.

What does a 2+ charge mean? ›

+2 charge indicates that any compound, molecule, or atom loses two electrons and becomes a cationic species. -2 charge indicates that any compound, molecule, or atom loses two electrons and becomes an anionic species. The example of a +2 charge is as follows: Barium , Cadmium , Lead , etc.

What is the highest charge you can get? ›

Some lesser federal offenses may be considered misdemeanors, while more serious offenses may be felonies. Federal felonies are divided into five categories: A, B, C, D and E. A crime that's a Class A federal felony is the worst, with a maximum prison term of life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Is intent hard to prove? ›

Since intent is a mental state, it is one of the most difficult things to prove. There is rarely any direct evidence of a defendant's intent, as nearly no one who commits a crime willingly admits it. To prove criminal intent, one must rely on circumstantial evidence.

Is theft by deception a felony in Alabama? ›

Class B felonies are the most serious and are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Felony Theft Amount Alabama Guidelines. Theft by deception Alabama charges can be classified as a Class B felony, a Class C felony Alabama, a Class D felony Alabama, or as a Class A misdemeanor Alabama.

Can you take someone to court for deception? ›

For a tort of deceit claim to succeed, you must be able to establish: The defendant made a representation which was false. The defendant knew that the representation was false. The defendant intended that the representation would induce the claimant to act.

Is theft considered a serious crime? ›

Theft comes in many different forms such as: shoplifting, burglary, etc. Typically the greater the value of what is stolen; the more seriously the crime of theft is regarded. Furthermore, it is also considered more serious if the theft has been planned in advance. Theft carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years.

Is it still stealing if you return it? ›

Returning an Item Due to Remorse

Because intent is present, it is entirely possible to prosecute a person for stealing an item they later return. The return is irrelevant to the charges. The person took the item on purpose and permanently, and that is all the prosecution needs to know to seek justice.

What is the lowest level of theft? ›

The minimum type of theft charge is called, “Petty Larceny,” which means stealing something up to the value of $1,000. This frequently happens when people go places like departmental stores and take clothing, jewelry, or things of that nature.

What is the difference between theft and qualified theft? ›

The difference between theft and qualified theft

While the basic principles remain the same, the crime becomes qualified theft if: The crime is committed by a domestic servant; or. The crime is committed with grave abuse of confidence; or.

What happens if you shoplift but return the item? ›

Yes, the police can charge him with shoplifting/stealing even though the item was returned to the store.

What is one way to legally make a steal? ›

In basketball, a steal occurs when a defensive player legally causes a turnover by their positive, aggressive action(s). This can be done by deflecting and controlling, or by catching the opponent's pass or dribble of an offensive player.

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