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What constitutes the crime of theft in Alabama?

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Whether it is a lapse of judgment or an act of desperation, there will be times when a person in Birmingham takes something that is not theirs. However, when does a taking of property rise to the level of a theft crime?

What is theft?

Under Alabama Code, theft occurs when a person with obtains property they know belongs to someone else or exerts control over property belonging to someone else without authorization, with the intent of depriving the owner of said property. Theft also occurs if a person knowingly uses deception to obtain property belonging to someone else, with the intent of depriving the owner of said property. However, not all theft crimes are treated the same. The greater the value of the allegedly stolen property, the greater the penalties.

First-degree theft vs. second-degree theft

Let’s look at first-degree theft versus second-degree theft. If the value of the allegedly stolen property is worth more than $2,500 or if the property no matter what its value was taken directly from a person’s body, this is considered first-degree theft. The theft of a motor vehicle, no matter what it is valued at, is also considered first-degree theft. First-degree theft also takes place if one or more people allegedly plan a scheme to sell property to another person or business knowing or with the reasonable belief that the property was stolen and the property is worth at least $1,000. First-degree theft is a Class B felony.

Second-degree theft, on the other hand, is a Class C felony. If the value of the allegedly stolen property is between $1,500 and $2,500 and the property was not taken directly from a person’s body, this is considered second-degree theft. Theft of firearms regardless of value also constitutes second-degree theft.

Know your rights and options

As you can see, first-degree theft is treated differently than second-degree theft. There is also third-degree theft and fourth-degree theft, the latter being a Class A misdemeanor. It is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are facing criminal charges such as theft you will want to explore all your legal rights and options, so you can make decisions in your defense that are in your best interests.