Vestavia Hills Theft Lawyer
Being charged with theft in Alabama can be an embarrassing and frightening situation. From being arrested to having to appear in court, the circumstances can be overwhelming.
Vestavia Hills theft lawyers work with clients who have been charged with a variety of theft offenses to better understand the nature of the charges brought against them and to protect their freedom. In order to better defend charges of theft, it is necessary to understand them by contacting a knowledgeable Vestavia Hills criminal lawyer.
Categories of Theft
Theft in Alabama can be separated into three main categories:
- Theft of property
- Theft of services
- Receiving stolen property
Theft of property is defined under Alabama Code 13A-8-2 as when a person:
- Knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of their property
- Knowingly obtains by deception control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of their property
- Knowingly obtains or exerts control over property in the custody of a law enforcement agency which was explicitly represented to the person by an agent of the law enforcement agency as being stolen
- Knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over any donated item left on the property of a charitable organization or in a drop box or trailer, or within 30 feet of a drop box or trailer, belonging to a charitable organization.
The penalty for theft of property scales in accordance with the value of property alleged to have been taken. The most serious offenses, in excess of $2,500, is Theft in the First Degree treated as a Class B felony under Alabama Code 13A-8-3.
The least serious is Theft in the Fourth Degree, a Class A misdemeanor under Alabama Code 13A-8-5. Regardless of the degree of the crime, a conviction can result in significant jail time.
Theft of services is defined under Alabama Code 13A-8-10 as intentionally obtaining services known by them to be available only for compensation by deception, threat, false token, or other means to avoid payment. An example includes staying in a hotel by passing a bad check. The penalties for this class of theft are also graded on a scale of value and the scales are identical to those for theft of property.
Receiving Stolen Property
Lastly, receiving stolen property is described by Alabama Code 13A-8-16 as:
“A person commits the crime of receiving stolen property if they intentionally receive, retain or dispose 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.”
Much like the other theft categories, the sliding scale applies and the greater the value, the greater the potential penalties. Such penalties can be best combatted through the use of a Vestavia Hills theft attorney.
Depending upon the degree of the theft alleged, the crime may be classified as a Class B, C, or D felony, or a Class A Misdemeanor. The possible penalties for these are as follows:
- Class B Felony: Between two and 20 years in prison with a fine of up to $30,000. Alabama Code 13A-5-6, 13A-5-11
- Class C Felony: Between one year and one day up to 10 years jail time and a fine of up to $15,000. Alabama Code 13A-5-6, 13A-5-11
- Class D Felony: Between one year and one day up to five years jail time and a fine of up to $7,500. Alabama Code 13A-5-6, 13A-5-11
- Class A Misdemeanor: Up to one year jail time and a fine of not more than $6,000. Alabama Code 13A-5-7, 13A-5-12
To help defend against any penalties that may result from these charges, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable Vestavia Hills theft lawyer as soon as possible.
Benefit of a Lawyer
Whether a person has been charged with the theft of a candy bar or a car, Vestavia Hills theft attorneys work to protect that person’s liberty. Regardless of the severity of the theft charges, a conviction can result in significant jail time and fines.
By examining any surveillance footage, talking to witnesses, and reading police reports, lawyers can work to discredit the prosecutor’s case.
A theft lawyer in Vestavia Hills can argue on your behalf in court not only at a potential trial, but also during any evidentiary motions or plea deal negotiations to keep your best interests in mind.