By definition, property theft represents the knowing and illegal taking of someone’s property for your own gain. You can also commit property theft by knowingly and illegally gaining control over someone else’s property. 

AlabamaRetail.org explains that Alabama law provides for three degrees of property theft as follows: 

  1. First degree, a class B felony 
  2. Second degree, a class C felony 
  3. Third degree, a class A misdemeanor 

First-degree property theft 

You commit first-degree property theft if you steal one of the following: 

  • Something worth over $2,500 
  • Something from the person of your victim, regardless of value 
  • A motor vehicle, regardless of value 
  • One or more items worth a total of at least $1,000 for the purpose of selling or transferring it or them to another person who knows or has reason to believe that you stole the property 

Second-degree property theft 

Most items coming under the second-degree theft umbrella represent those of between $500 and $2,500 in value. However, if you steal a credit or debit card, a firearm, a controlled substance or someone’s livestock, a judge or jury can also convict you of second-degree property theft, regardless of the item’s value. 

Third-degree property theft 

The crime of third-degree property theft applies to anything of less than $500 value that you steal, assuming you did not steal it from your victim’s person. 

Potential penalties 

If convicted of first-degree property theft, you face a prison sentence of from two to 20 years. A second-degree property theft conviction could result in your incarceration for 1-10 years plus a maximum $15,00 fine. Even a third-degree property theft misdemeanor conviction could land you in jail for up to a year in addition to requiring you to pay a $6,000 fine.