What is Felony Theft in Alabama
Recently in August of 2020, Will Dismukes, a State legislator from Prattville, Alabama, was charged with felony theft, specifically, Theft of Property in the First Degree (TOP 1). This article details more information regarding the matter. Dismukes was charged with TOP 1 after allegedly stealing over $2500 dollars from a former employer. Dismukes has been in the news and under heavy criticism prior to his arrest for attending a Confederate Holiday Celebration for Nathan Bedford Forrest, the alleged founder of the KKK.
Felony theft in Alabama, or Theft of Property in the First Degree, is the theft of property or anything of value, that exceeds $2500 dollars. Alabama's Theft of Property laws are delineated into four categories. These theft of property laws range from misdemeanors to felonies and typically range in punishment based upon the value of the property stolen. Alabama actually has three felony theft of property charges and one of the misdemeanor variety:
Types of Felony Theft Charges in Alabama & More
- Theft of Property in 1st Degree -- Value or property stolen is over $2500 dollars. Theft of Property in the First Degree is a Class B Felony in Alabama, which ranges in punishment from 2 years to 20 years in prison.
- Theft of Property in the 2nd Degree --The value of property stolen is over $1500 dollars but less than $2500 dollars. Theft of Property in the 2nd degree is a Class C felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison. A possible term of imprisonment for a theft of property in the 2nd degree is 1-10 years in prison. TOP2(Theft of Property 2nd Degree) can also apply if controlled substance, firearm or even livestock are alleged to have been stolen.
- Theft of Property in the 3rd Degree -- TOP3 is property stolen ranging in value from $500 dollars to $1500 dollars. Theft of Property in the 3rd Degree is a Class D Felony with punishment from one to five years in prison. If a prison sentence is ordered then it must be served in community corrections and cannot be more than two years in community correction.
- Theft of Property in the 4th Degree -- TOP4, or Theft of Property in the 4th degree does not exceed $500 dollars in value and is not taken from a person. This is what we usually see as a Shoplifting Charge in Alabama. Shoplifting in Alabama is normally less than $500 dollars in value, taken from a store like WalMart or Belk. Alabama does not have a specific shoplifting charge so this is the code section those alleged to have committed shoplifting would be charged under. This charge is a Class A misdemeanor and the alleged defendant may serve anywhere up to one-year in prison.
Theft of Services Charges
Under AL Code §13A-8-10 you can be charged with theft if you intentionally obtain services that you understand are available for compensation by deception, and by any other means of avoiding payment or by a threat.
First Degree: If you are involved in stealing more than $2,500-value of services, you will be charged with a felony Class B under Alabama Code §13A-8-10.1.
Second Degree: According to AL Code §13A-8-10.2, when stolen services are worth between $1,500 and $2,500, then you are looking a second-degree Class C theft of services charge.
Third Degree: If the theft of services are worth between $500 and $1,499, a Class D felony under AL Code §13A-8-10.25 is alleged.
Fourth Degree: If you supposedly stole services cost less than $500, under AL Code §13A-8-10.3, you are facing a misdemeanor Class A.
What to do If You Are Charged or Being Investigated for Theft Charges
If are being investigated for a crime of theft in Alabama, be sure to Shut Up and Lawyer Up! (read my previous blog on remaining silent here) Shut Up and Lawyer Up! You have the Right to Remain Silent under our Constitution. Often times, the police, investigators, or even store security personnel, are asking you questions simply so that you may say something that can used as evidence against you in a prosecution for theft. Do not take the bait. Often police will tell you that you should not hire a lawyer or security personnel from a store will tell you that a court will look more favorably upon you if you confess to the theft. Never Ever Believe Them! They are not trying to help you. These are law enforcement tactics used to obtain a confession or to simply gather additional evidence for a conviction. Often an experienced criminal defense lawyer can significantly reduce your theft charges, or even have them dismissed. The police must use proper investigative tactics and must abide by your Constitutional Rights. Many times a skillful attorney can argue affirmative defenses, such as unlawful search and seizure, and can have confessions not allowed to be admitted into evidence before or at trial. Always remember that the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed the crime.
I have successfully practiced law for many years and helped hundreds of clients. I believe in the Constitution of the United States and in our criminal justice system. I will help you navigate the criminal justice system in Alabama and fight any criminal charges against you to the best of my ability. Please contact me today if you or a loved one are facing investigation or criminal charges for theft. My name is Erik Fine, I am your Alabama criminal defense attorney. I am conveniently located in Chelsea, Alabama, and I represent clients charged with theft crimes in Shelby and Jefferson Counties, and throughout the great State of Alabama.