Classification of Theft Charges
Not all theft charges are the same. There are different classifications of theft that can lead to different penalties. Theft charges are separated by degree — first, second, third, and fourth. The degree of theft is dependent on the value of what was stolen. The higher the value, the lower the degree. These varying degrees are as follows:
- Fourth-Degree Theft - Theft of property in the fourth degree is considered a Class A misdemeanor charge and involves any theft of property that does not exceed $500 in value. This also involves theft that does not occur between two individuals. For example, shoplifting from a store would be considered fourth-degree theft.
- Third-Degree Theft - Third-degree theft of property is considered a Class D felony charge and involves any theft of property that is valued between $500-$1,499.
- Second-Degree Theft - Theft of property in the second degree is considered a Class C felony charge and involves any theft of property that is valued between $1,500-$2,500.
- First-Degree Theft - First-degree theft of property is considered a Class B felony charge and involves any theft of property that exceeds $2,500 in value. The theft of a motor vehicle, regardless of its value, is also considered first-degree theft.
It’s important to remember that the degree of theft also affects the severity of the punishment. Felonies in Alabama will typically be met with harder punishment than misdemeanors, and the lowest tier of theft (fourth-degree theft) can be classified as a misdemeanor.
You Deserve a Strong Legal Defense
If the person who committed the theft honestly believed, at the time of the alleged offense, that they had a valid claim to the property or services taken, that can be used as a theft defense. This is typically one of the most common defenses, but it can be hard to prove in a court of law. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney working with you to craft a strong defense that can help you fight the charges against you.
Having an attorney who will protect your rights and provide an aggressive defense for you in court can help you and your future in the long run. Whether you have been charged with theft, larceny, or any other charges under the umbrella of theft, the process is one you don’t want to go through alone. If you or someone you know has been charged with theft, don’t wait. Call or reach out to Guntersville Law, LLC today for reliable legal guidance and aggressive representation.