Shoplifting is a crime that dates back to at least the 1500's. While many individuals are aware of the crime that is called shoplifting in the state of Alabama, but just as many individuals fail to realize the often catastrophic consequences that can accompany a shoplifting charge. When an individual is faced with a shoplifting charge, it is a substantial deal and individuals frequently benefit from the services of skilled Alabama criminal defense attorney. There are also some basic pieces of information that individuals must understand concerning shoplifting charges in the state of Alabama.
Classification of Shoplifting Charges in Alabama
The state of Alabama groups shoplifting charges into three separate categories. The breakdown of shoplifting charges is as follows:
- Third Degree Theft. These types of charges occur when an individual steals property that is under $500 in value. If convicted of this charge, an individual faces no more than one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.
- Second Degree Theft. These types of charges are made against individual who have stolen property totaling between $500 and $2,500 in value. As a result of this type of offense, an individual is sentenced to between one to ten years in jail and a fine totaling upwards to $15,000.
- First Degree Theft. These types of thefts are made for individuals who have stolen property greater than $2,500 in value. If convicted of a first degree theft, individuals face between 2 to 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $30,000.
In the state of Alabama, law enforcement, a merchant, or a merchant's employee can detain someone who is believed to have stolen good from a merchant. As a result, individuals facing a shoplifting charge can lawfully be detained in many different situations.
It must be understood that individuals guilty of shoplifting can also be subject to substantial civil penalties. Merchants can sue in civil court and are entitled to the full retail value of the merchandise in addition to a fixed amount of $200 for recovery of the merchandise and $1,000 for attorney fees and court costs.
Options For Lessening Potential Shoplifting Punishments In The State of Alabama
In some counties in the state of Alabama, individuals are afforded the option to participate in diversion programs. Successful completion of these programs results in criminal charges being dropped. In situations when attendance of diversion programs is not an option, an individual may potentially be able to negotiate a plea bargain in a case which can result in lessened charges or reduced sentencing. While there are certainly some options to lessen the amount of potential punishments from a shoplifting charges, a knowledgeable attorney is often necessary for determining how to best respond to a potential charge.
How An Experienced Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Retaining the services of skilled and experienced legal counsel is essential if an individual desires to successfully defend a shoplifting charge. Talented legal counsel will know how to investigate the evidence surrounding a shoplifting charge to discover the strongest elements in an individual's case. A knowledgeable attorney will also know that opposing counsel must satisfy every requirement of shoplifting in order for a charge to be made. As a result, if you or a loved one faces shoplifting charges in the state of Alabama, contact the Eversole Law Offices today for a free evaluation of your case.