Although a bill introduced in Alabama’s legislature proposed to raise the threshold, shoplifting remains a felony offense in the Yellowhammer State when the value of the goods is $500 or more. As reported by Alabama Retail, a proposed bill intended to raise the felony threshold to $2,500.
The bill’s purpose was to bring shoplifting offenses under $2,500 down to the misdemeanor level. This would have helped lessen the number of felony offenses making their way through the courts and provide some relief to an already overtaxed statewide correctional system. As noted by Yellowhammer News, Alabama has one of the most overcrowded prison systems in the U.S.
Retailers react in concern to proposed changes in shoplifting laws
WAAY ABC 31 reported on retailer concerns over the proposed changes in shoplifting laws. One small business owner commented that raising the felony-offense threshold for shoplifting to $2,500 could be “devastating” to small business owners. The owner described how she would need to have “more eyes” on her customers, which would require hiring an extra employee.
Retailers appear relieved that the shoplifting bill did not meet with approval in the state legislature. Anyone caught shoplifting in Alabama for an amount between $500 to $1,499 can still face prosecution for a Class D felony.
Felony offenses in Alabama carry the potential for time in prison
Although even a misdemeanor offense may earn a year in jail under certain conditions, all Alabama felony offenses can result in imprisonment. The lowest level felony charge, a Class D, can bring a convicted offender between one and five years in prison. The highest felony level, a Class A, can result in a sentence of between 10 years and life imprisonment.
Individuals charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony offense in Alabama may find themselves facing consequences beyond the charge’s associated sentencing guidelines. After completing the sentence, life-altering issues of housing and employment may cloud the future. Accused individuals may find it in their best interests to proactively consider all of the related options, such as plea deals, unique defense strategies and future expungements.