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Shoplifting Laws In Alabama: The Basic


Shoplifting in Alabama is one of the more common crimes; however, depending on the value of the merchandise taken, shoplifting may be treated as a felony offense rather than a minor offense.

Even if the value of the merchandise taken places the charge at a misdemeanor level, if you are convicted of shoplifting in Alabama, you could face a year of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines.

Below we will discuss Alabama shoplifting offenses and penalties to help you understand the charges’ severity.

Alabama Shoplifting Offenses and Penalties

Shoplifting laws in Alabama classifies each offense based on the property’s value. However, in some cases, the type of property stolen or the circumstances may also affect the classification, and penalties range from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony.

Misdemeanor Shoplifting Charges in Alabama

In Alabama, four statutes govern theft property offenses. There is only one of the four that is treated as a misdemeanor. Alabama Code 13A-8-5 defines property theft in the fourth degree as the taking of property worth no more than $500 to deprive the owner of that property. For a shoplifting offense classified as a class A misdemeanor offense, 4th-degree theft, it is a penalty in county jail and sign up to $6000.

Felony Shoplifting Charges in Alabama

In Alabama, that property in the first, second, or third degree is considered a felony offense. 

  • Third-degree property theft. If an individual steals property by buying it between $500 and $1500, it is considered a class D felony offense under Alabama law code 13A-8–4.
  • Second-degree property theft. If the value of the stolen property is between $1500 and $2500 escalates the charges of theft of property to the second degree, which is a class C felony. This may sound like a large sum; however, one or two items of high value could easily be up to this amount. Various types of thefts of property in Alabama, even one worth less than $1500, also fall under theft in the second degree If it is a controlled substance, firearms, or livestock under Alabama Code 13A-8-4
  • First-degree property theft. If the value of the stolen property is over $2500, it is treated as first-degree theft, a class B felony. Theft of any motor vehicle of any value is automatically a first-degree felony theft.

Penalties for Shoplifting in Alabama

Merchants from whom property is shoplifted may pursue a civil liability case for the value of the stolen property.

  • Fourth-degree theft is a misdemeanor. Suppose you are convicted of a class A misdemeanor in Alabama, the lowest level for shoplifting, and involves property valued under or at $500. In that case, the penalty is up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $6000, or both.
  • Third-degree felony offenses. If you are convicted of a class D felony offense, the penalty is no less than one year and a day, up to five years in jail, and fines up to $7,500 or both.
  • Second-degree felony offenses. If you are convicted of a class C felony offense, the penalty is one year and a day and up to ten years in jail and fines up to $15,000 or both.
  • First-degree felony offenses. If you are convicted of a class B felony offense, the penalty is at least two years, up to twenty years in prison, and fines up to $30,000, or both.

Hiring an attorney experienced in defending shoplifting cases is crucial for individuals facing shoplifting charges in Alabama.

Repeat Offenders Enhanced Penalties and Restitution

In Alabama, habitual felony offenders face increased penalties based on the number of past convictions and the felony offense level for the current charges, as stated in Alabama Code 13A-5-9.

  • Second felony conviction. For anyone facing a second felony conviction, sentences are raised by one level. For example, they are facing a class B felony charge that will increase to a class A felony charge. Penalty increase will only apply to the current events classified as a class A, B, or C felony.
  • Third felony conviction. Individuals with two prior felony offenses will face the following minimum prison term of 10 years for a class C felony, 15 years for a class B felony, and 99 years for a class A felony offense.
  • Fourth felony conviction. Or any individual facing a fourth felony offense will face a minimum prison term of 15 years for a class C felony, 20 years for a class B felony, and life for a class A felony conviction.
  • Class D felony with previous convictions. For individuals facing a class D felony with two or more class A or class B felony convictions or three or more felonies on their record, the penalty for the current offense will increase to a class C felony.

Criminal Defense for Shoplifting in Alabama

An experienced shoplifting attorney in Alabama can evaluate your case to develop the best defense. An example of a theft defense may be that the individual held an honest belief at the time that they had a valid claim to the stolen services or property. As a result, if the charge is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the result could be a not-guilty verdict. If you are accused of shoplifting in Alabama, hire an attorney you can trust.

Shoplifting in Alabama

In Alabama, shoplifters may face both criminal and civil penalties. Criminal penalties are listed above; shoplifting is considered theft of property.

Additionally, anyone who commits a shoplifting offense may face civil penalties under Alabama law and criminal penalties and may be ordered to:

  • Reimburse the owner of the merchandise or services owner for up to $200 and expenses that were spent to recover that which was shoplifted.
  • Reimburse the owner of the merchandise or services the total retail value of all shoplifted property when the property is no longer sellable.
  • Pay the merchant up to $1000 to cover reasonable attorney fees, including court costs to bring a civil action against the offender.

If the shoplifter under 19 is considered a minor, the legal guardians or parents, except for foster parents, will be held responsible for the above damages.

Hire An Attorney With Proven Experience Representing Shoplifters In Alabama, Brackin Law Firm

If you are facing theft or shoplifting charges, Brackin Law Firm is here to help.

We have in-depth experience in navigating the criminal justice process and how to work with the court system in Baldwin County, representing clients for over 35 years in criminal defense cases, family law, divorce and child custody, estate planning, and more.

Contact us today, and we will get to work defending your rights and your freedom.

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