Shoplifting is the most common crime in the US and if you are facing theft charges, having a defense attorney helping you navigate the criminal justice system is essential. Having a solid defense and an advocate for your rights will put you in a position to obtain the best possible result and put you at ease during a stressful and arduous time.
Theft charges can cost you your job, housing, family and even your freedom. This article will go over the penalties for shoplifting in Alabama, the severity of each degree and how a defense attorney can help you with the charges you are facing so as to minimize the impact of your charge upon your daily life.
How Does Alabama Law Define Theft?
The crime of theft in Alabama is defined as someone who takes another party’s property or services without authorization with intent to deprive the owner of their property or services. Taking someone else’s property or services can occur physically or by using deceptive means. It’s also theft to take lost property without using reasonable measures to find the owner.
How Alabama Classifies Theft
Alabama classifieds theft based on the value of the property involved and, in some cases, the circumstances or type of property involved. The penalties for theft range from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony. Alabama law also provides specific penalties for other types of theft, including theft of trademarks or trade secrets, cargo, cable television or satellite reception, and gasoline.
Degrees and Their Penalties
The lowest level of theft offense is fourth-degree theft, which is a class A misdemeanor. Fourth-degree theft covers stealing property or services valued at or under $500 and carries a penalty of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $6,000, or both.
Third-degree theft covers stealing of property or services of more than $500 but less than $1,500. Theft of a credit or debit card, no matter how much value is associated with that card, is also theft in the third degree. 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.
Second-degree covers property or services valued between $1,500 and $2,500, is a class C felony and applies to firearms, certain controlled substances, and livestock. Class C felonies can be punished by one year and a day up to ten years’ in prison, a fine up to $15,000, or both.
First-degree theft covers stolen property or services greater than $2,500, which is a class B felony. Theft of a motor vehicle of any value is also first-degree theft. Class B felonies can result in a term of imprisonment ranging from a minimum of two years to a maximum of 20 years and could carry a fine up to $30,000.
Enhanced Penalties and Restitution for Prior Convictions
It is important to remember that Alabama law increases the penalties for repeat offenders and it is particularly important to hire a lawyer if you have been charged with shoplifting before or have a record or any prior criminal offenses.
Why An Attorney Can Be Essential to Your Case
Defense attorneys are here to fight for your case and know many ways to get your charges lessened or dropped. There are many reasons having a lawyer defend you can help you, such as:
- Keep the charge(s) off your record
- Save you from fines and restitution
- Keep you out of jail/prison
- Make sure your credit isn’t affected
- Working with prosecution to drop your case or judge to dismiss
- Reduce sentencing
- Come to a “compromise” where you pay a negotiated fee to end the case
- Help prove there was no “intent to steal”
Get An Experienced Defense Lawyer to Fight for You
If you are facing shoplifting or theft charges, Brackin Law Firm is here to help. We understand the criminal justice process, how to work with each District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney, city prosecutor, or judge that is handling your criminal case, and the possibilities prior to ever entering the courtroom. We understand the stress you face with these charges, and the pressure you feel about hiring the right lawyer can make it even worse. You deserve a lawyer who understands what you’re going through and will give you the best legal services possible and our experience and results will keep you at ease during the entire process.
Contact us today, and let us fight for your future.