Theft of Property
If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, burglary, criminal trespassing, identity theft, or any other theft of property crime, our experienced defense lawyers can help.
Misdemeanor theft or felony? Get the facts.
Penalties for theft-related crimes can vary in severity depending on the value of the property or money stolen, whether anyone was hurt during the crime, and whether a deadly weapon was involved. First-degree burglary and first-degree robbery are more serious Class A felonies because they involve potential harm to others. Each of these can carry 10 to 20 years to life, depending on whether a deadly weapon was involved. First-degree theft is a Class B felony carrying 2 to 20 years in prison.
On the much lower end of the scale, misdemeanor crimes like shoplifting may draw probation or community service, especially if the accused is a juvenile or first-time offender. In addition to criminal penalties, under Alabama law any person who commits a shoplifting offense can also be held civilly liable, and may be ordered to reimburse for the full value of the shoplifted property, reimburse the store owner for expenses incurred trying to recover the property, or pay to cover the store owner’s attorney fees and court costs.
In theft of property crimes in Alabama, the burden is on the prosecution to prove three elements, or a conviction cannot be reached:
- It must be proved that the defendant knowingly obtained the property of others
- It must be proved that the defendant obtained that property by deception
- And it must be proved that the defendant intended to deprive the others of their property
A good defense attorney will use this burden of proof to construct counter-arguments in your advantage if possible. If at the time of the offense you honestly believed that you had a valid claim to the property or service taken, do not hesitate to tell your defense lawyer, as this may help your case.