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Being charged with shoplifting in Jefferson County can be a serious offense. Depending on the value of the items stolen, a person could be charged with a felony. Further, the legal penalties for a possible felony conviction could range from one to 20 years, depending on whether the charges are for first or second-degree felony theft. If you are confronted with shoplifting charges call a Jefferson County shoplifting lawyer.

A skilled defense attorney who is well-versed in laws surrounding shoplifting in Jefferson County could examine the case and potentially identify legal strategies. The court system can become confusing fast and someone without proper legal representation may face extensive penalties.

Shoplifting Laws in Jefferson County

Laws regarding shoplifting are commonly found in Chapter 8 of the Alabama criminal code, which often pertains to theft and other related offenses. Shoplifting is generally considered to be a type of theft, which involves taking property belonging to someone else with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. In the case of shoplifting, the property being stolen is generally some type of merchandise for sale by a vendor, shop, store, or business.

Shoplifting may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony theft, depending on the value of the merchandise allegedly stolen. The different degrees of shoplifting theft outlined in Chapter 8 of Alabama’s criminal code may include:

  • Fourth-degree shoplifting
  • Third-degree shoplifting
  • Second-degree shoplifting
  • First-degree shoplifting

Fourth-degree is typically considered a Class A misdemeanor and may involve the theft of property valued at less than $500. A third-degree offense is generally regarded as a Class D felony and may involve theft of property valued between $500 to $1,499. When someone is charged with a second-degree offense they are typically facing a Class C felony which often concerns property valued between $1,500 and $2,500. A first-degree offense is commonly charged as a Class B felony which typically involves theft of property valued at over $2,500. A person who is facing any of these charges could significantly benefit from the legal counsel of a Jefferson County shoplifting lawyer.

Legal Penalties for Shoplifting

The legal penalties for shoplifting convictions in Jefferson County may range from a sentence of not more than one year for shoplifting in the fourth-degree to a sentence of two to 20 years for shoplifting in the first-degree. In addition to a jail or prison sentence for a felony shoplifting conviction in the first, second, or third-degree, a monetary fine may also be imposed.

For individuals with prior felony convictions of any kind, a felony conviction for shoplifting may be punished under the next higher class. For instance, Alabama law commonly requires that an individual with a prior felony conviction who is convicted of shoplifting in the second-degree, which is a Class C felony, be punished according to the penalties for a Class B felony. That means that instead of being sentenced to no more than one year in jail for a Class C felony, a sentence of between two to 20 years could be imposed in accordance with a Class B felony. A Jefferson County shoplifting lawyer could mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

Related Civil Lawsuits

Under Title 6 Civil Practice of the Code of Alabama, it is possible to be sued in civil court for the value of the merchandise stolen, as well as court costs. The standard of proof in civil court is generally lower than in criminal court.

The plaintiff, being the shop or business owner, typically only has to demonstrate liability rather than prove guilt. A Jefferson County shoplifting attorney could also provide assistance in the event an accused person also faces a civil lawsuit.

Speaking with a Jefferson County Shoplifting Attorney

A Jefferson County shoplifting lawyer could walk you through the legal process if you are facing shoplifting charges. An adept defense attorney could also explain the differences between misdemeanor and felony shoplifting charges, as well as possible legal solutions. Contact a Jefferson County shoplifting attorney for assistance today.

Jefferson County Theft Lawyer