There are varying degrees of theft crimes in Alabama. It is important to hire an aggressive theft crimes defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected! Located in the Birmingham area, Dixon Law has helped hundreds of clients charged with crimes involving theft in and around the surrounding counties. Whether you are suspected, being investigated or have been charged with a theft crime, it is important to have an aggressive and experienced attorney to fight for you and the sooner the better! Often times, law enforcement is simply trying to gather evidence against you for a conviction. If law enforcement tells you “If you hire a lawyer, you will look guilty.” or “The Judge will be more lenient on you if you admit that you committed this crime.” DON'T BELIEVE THEM! These are tactics often used by law enforcement for no other reason than building a case against you! There are procedures and laws that the police must follow; whether there are issues such as unlawful searches, affirmative defenses and/or poor investigative techniques, there are a number of issues that a trained and experienced lawyer can attack to give you the best defense possible. Contact Dixon Law today for your free consultation!! Included below are some laws and explanations for the most common types of theft crimes.
In Alabama, there are different degrees of theft ranging from misdemeanors to felony charges that could have harsh fines and even possible imprisonment. There all types of theft crimes including, but not limited to: Shoplifting, theft of property, theft of services, receipt of stolen property and robbery.
- Theft 1st -4th Degree
There basically four degrees of theft of property crimes in Alabama. Typically, the degree for which an individual can be charged is usually specified by the value of the item(s) allegedly stolen. In Alabama Theft First Degree is a Class B felony; the potential punishment is from 2-20 years in prison when the alleged value is over $2,500 dollars. Theft of property in the second degree is a Class C felony; theft in the second degree has potential punishment from 1-10 years in prison. Theft 2nd occurs when the value of the property involved exceeds $1,500 but not $2,500 in value. It can also apply if a firearm, controlled substance, or livestock (of any value) is alleged to have been stolen. Theft of property 3rd is a Class D Felony and is for property that is between $500 and $1,499 in value. The theft of property which does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500) in value, and which is not taken from the person of another constitutes theft of property in the fourth degree. Theft of property in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor with a range of punishment up to one (1) year in the county jail.
- Theft of Services:
Like its counterpart, theft of services has varying degrees determined by the alleged valued amount. A person commits the crime of theft of services if:
(1) He intentionally obtains services known by him to be available only for compensation by deception, threat, false token or other means to avoid payment for the services; or
(2) Having control over the disposition of services of others to which he is not entitled, he knowingly diverts those services to his own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled thereto.
(b) “Services” includes but is not necessarily limited to labor, professional services, transportation, telephone or other public services, accommodation in motels, hotels, restaurants or elsewhere, admission to exhibitions, computer services and the supplying of equipment for use.
(c) Where compensation for services is ordinarily paid immediately upon the rendering of them, as in the case of motels, hotels, restaurants and the like, absconding without payment or bona fide offer to pay is prima facie evidence under subsection (a) that the services were obtained by deception.
(d) If services are obtained under subdivision (a) (1) from a hotel, motel, inn, restaurant or cafe, no prosecution can be commenced after 120 days from the time of the offense.
Theft of services often occurs in particular areas of business. Construction, for example, is an area in which this crime often avails itself. If particular employees are using labor for their own side jobs and/or him or her uses equipment, belonging to their employer, for their own personal gain, this act could constitute theft of services.
- Receipt of Stolen Property:
This is a particularly prevalent crime I see often in Alabama. Like the crimes mentioned above, Receipt of Stolen Property also has varying degrees in Alabama basically analogous to the values and degrees listed above on other theft crimes. A person commits the crime of receiving stolen property if he intentionally receives, retains or disposes of stolen property knowing that it has been stolen or having reasonable grounds to believe it has been stolen, unless the property is received, retained or disposed of with intent to restore it to the owner.
(b) If a person:
(1) On two separate occasions within a year prior to the commission of the instant offense of receiving stolen property is found in possession or control of stolen property; or
(2) Possesses goods or property which have been recently stolen; or
(3) Regularly buys, sells, uses or handles in the course of business property of the sort received, and acquired the property without making reasonable inquiry whether the person selling or delivering the property to him had a legal right to do so, this shall be prima facie evidence that he has the requisite knowledge or belief.
(c) The fact that the person who stole the property has not been convicted, apprehended or identified is not a defense to a charge of receiving stolen property.
Obviously, a defense to receipt of stolen property is that the individual had no reasonable expectation that the items were stolen when taken in possession, or subsequent to taking possession, of that property. Another prong and defense is the “intent” element to this crime. If the accused did not intentionally receive the stolen property, or intended on returning the items to the owner, this would negate the intent element and be a possible defense to the crime.
Robbery is theft plus the threat and/or act of violence to deprive a person of property. A person commits the crime of robbery in the first degree if he violates Section 13A-8-43 and he:
(1) Is armed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; or
(2) Causes serious physical injury to another.
(b) Possession then and there of an article used or fashioned in a manner to lead any person who is present reasonably to believe it to be a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or any verbal or other representation by the defendant that he is then and there so armed, is prima facie evidence under subsection (a) of this section that he was so armed.
Robbery in the first degree is a Class A felony. This means that an individual charged with robbery 1st faces a possible sentencing range of 10 years to life in prison.
A person commits the crime of robbery in the second degree if he violates Section 13A-8-43 and he is aided by another person actually present. Robbery in the second degree is a Class B felony with a sentencing range of 2-20 years in prison.
Robbery 3rd Degree is a Class C felony, carrying with it, a sentencing range of 1-10 years. A person commits the crime of robbery in the third degree if in the course of committing a theft he:
(1) Uses force against the person of the owner or any person present with intent to overcome his physical resistance or physical power of resistance; or
(2) Threatens the imminent use of force against the person of the owner or any person present with intent to compel acquiescence to the taking of or escaping with the property.
Typically, Robbery 3rd occurs when the alleged threatens to use force without a weapon such as a gun or knife. This type of crime is based more on the fear of harm or uses physical restraint to steal from the alleged victim. This is different than theft due to the fact that one is using force, or the threat of force, to deprive an individual of property rather than taking a person's property without their knowledge.
Regardless of if you are suspected or charged with a theft crime, a criminal conviction can have serious consequences! In Alabama, an individual convicted of various crimes could potentially lose their rights to vote, own a firearm, lose security clearances and significantly hinder career options. Don't leave your chance! Please call Dixon Law today at 205-616-8896.