All states look harshly at theft crimes, but Alabama has some of the strictest theft laws in the country. Defendants face penalties ranging from a few hundred dollars in fines to years or decades in jail.
Those arrested for theft crimes need to take their situation very seriously. Depending upon the value of the property in question, even shoplifting can lead to incarceration.
Factors that determine theft charges
Two critical factors courts use to determine the severity of theft crimes are:
- The value of the property allegedly stolen
- The means of extracting the allegedly stolen property
For example, if you take something worth $499 from a store (shoplifting), you may face theft of property in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor offense. If the value of the property is more than $500, it is first-degree theft, a Class B felony punishable by a significant term of imprisonment.
First-degree theft charges also arise when the property is worth $2,500 or more and when a motor vehicle is taken, regardless of its value.
Other degrees of theft
While theft in the first degree is the most severe, the taking of property can lead to lesser yet still serious charges:
- Second-degree theft involves property valued at between $1,500 and $2,500 and is punishable as a Class C felony.
- Third-degree theft involves property valued at between $500 and $1,499 and is punishable as a Class D felony.
As you can see, theft charges are complex in Alabama. The information here only covers a small portion of what defendants need to know. We recommend learning more about theft laws and your defense options to pursue a favorable outcome.