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On the vast spectrum of criminal offenses, a shoplifting charge may seem relatively minor. When you are convicted of shoplifting, you could face penalties for either a misdemeanor or felony theft offense, depending upon the value of the merchandise involved. Since the consequences of a shoplifting conviction could be more severe than you might initially think, you could consider getting the advice of a Pelham shoplifting lawyer.

The combined criminal penalties and civil liability that could arise from a shoplifting incident may include jail time, fines, the replacement value of the merchandise, recovery fees, attorney’s fees, and court costs. Consulting a knowledgeable theft attorney prior to resolving your case could be beneficial to you. In some cases, getting legal representation may enable you to seek a better resolution to the charges against you.

Shoplifting in Pelham

Shoplifting falls under the broader classification of theft under Alabama law. Pursuant to Alabama Code § 13A-8-2, theft typically involves intentionally taking unlawful control over property belonging to others, for the purposes of permanently denying them ownership and use of the property. As a Pelham shoplifting lawyer could explain, the theft could occur by deception, by taking stolen property in the custody of a law enforcement agency, or by taking donated property left on the grounds of a charitable organization.

Theft is further divided into four different categories of severity, based on the value of the property stolen. Shoplifting is typically charged as fourth-degree theft as stated by Alabama Code § 13A-8-5, which could involve property that is worth not more than $500.

The remaining classifications for theft, or, first, second, or third-degree theft, all are felony offenses. They all involve property valued at $500 or more, which could involve:

  • Third-degree theft involves property valued between $500 and $1,499
  • Second-degree theft involves property valued between $1,500 and $2,500
  • First-degree theft involves property valued at $2,500 and greater

Felony offenses typically carry more severe penalties than misdemeanor offenses. The collateral consequences that are likely to arise from any felony conviction. When facing any type of felony charges, the advice of a dedicated criminal defense lawyer may be instructive.

Potential Penalties

Individuals who commit shoplifting or fourth-degree theft face Class A misdemeanor charges. A conviction for fourth-degree theft can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $6,000.

Alabama Code § 6-5-271 provides that adults who commit, or attempt to commit, shoplifting or retail theft are civilly liable for the following items:

  • The value of the merchandise, if not recovered in a condition in which the store could resell it at its full retail price
  • $200 in recovery expenses
  • Up to $1,000 in reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs

This section also provides that if the individuals are unemancipated minors under the age of 19, their parents or legal guardians could be civilly liable for the same costs listed above. Parents or legal guardians in this situation typically have a maximum liability of $750 for each of no more than three separate offenses per calendar year. Parents or legal guardians also are typically not liable for the actions of unemancipated minors under 19 who are not living with them or if the minors commit theft with the intent of making their parents or guardians be held liable. A shoplifting attorney in Pelham could help individuals understand the potential penalties for shoplifting they may face.

Allowing a Pelham Shoplifting Attorney to Evaluate the Case

When you are facing shoplifting charges, you may be unclear where to turn first and unaware of the potential impact that a shoplifting conviction could have on your life. Any sort of offense involving dishonesty, whether a felony or misdemeanor, could have adverse effects on your ability to find a job or pursue certain lines of work.

A Pelham shoplifting lawyer could help build a defense case against any potential consequences and could fight tirelessly for you. Do not allow one mistake to dictate the path that you want to take in life. Enlist a strong legal advocate to be by your side as you fight back against shoplifting charges.

Pelham Theft Lawyer