Theft in Tuscaloosa
Crimes related to theft or fraud vary widely by the level of severity. For instance, a misdemeanor first offense shoplifting charge for theft of merchandise of under $500 in value comes with much lower penalties than a burglary first-degree felony charge. However, all theft charges are serious and may result in fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record.
If you have been charged with theft, speak with a Tuscaloosa theft lawyer that can handle the defense of every type of theft charge, from misdemeanors to felonies. The goal of a skilled criminal attorney is to ensure the best possible outcome for the individual, whether that is the dismissal of the case or the lightest sentence available.Defining Theft Offenses
Tuscaloosa theft lawyers have seen that every state defines theft in its own way. Generally, someone commits theft in Alabama if they knowingly obtain or exerts unauthorized control (including by deceit) over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of their property. This includes taking property that is in the custody of law enforcement or taking donated items from the property of a charitable organization, such as a drop box. The definition of property is not limited to physical items. Other things that can be stolen include stocks, contractual rights, public utilities, and more.Classifying Common Charges
The majority of theft offenses in Alabama result in felony charges, with the exception of third-degree theft. Shoplifters are usually charged with third-degree theft—a misdemeanor—if they have stolen an item worth $500 or less.
Felony theft charges are categorized by class and include:
- Second-Degree Theft (Class C Felony): Stealing property/services of $501-$2,500 in value or theft of credit card, firearm, controlled substance, livestock, trademarks, trade secrets, and more
- First-Degree Theft (Class B Felony): Stealing property/services of over $2,500 in value; theft of motor vehicle (grand theft auto); or a common scheme/plan by one or more individuals to knowingly transfer stolen property of $1,000 or more to another person
A felony conviction can result in long jail sentences and hefty fines. Repeat convictions can lead to even stiffer penalties. More so, being a convicted felon can possibly keep someone from voting or finding professional and educational opportunities in the future.
Even a misdemeanor conviction can wreak havoc on an individual’s freedom, their wallet, and criminal record. Some places of employment will choose another job candidate if even a misdemeanor conviction appears on someone’s record. If someone is charged with any theft crime, from shoplifting to grand theft auto, it may be important to contact a Tuscaloosa theft lawyer who can help protect their legal rights and build a sturdy defense.Talk to a Tuscaloosa Theft Attorney
The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution provides every person the right to legal counsel starting from the moment of police custody. Every person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty and deserves zealous and competent legal representation. If you have been charged with any type of theft crime, contact a Tuscaloosa theft lawyer who can provide aggressive and determined legal representation throughout your entire case.