Consequences for 3rd Degree Theft in Alabama

By Kristie Sweet
In Alabama, 3rd degree theft may land you in jail.
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Alabama state law Code 13A-5-3 defines 3rd degree theft as the taking of property valued at $500 or less. Unlike burglary or robbery, theft takes place when the property "is not taken from the person of another." Theft in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor in Alabama.

Definitions

Taking another person's property without consent constitutes theft. Third degree theft charges in Alabama may stem from shoplifting accusations or similar actions where property is not taken directly from another person or through use of force or fear. Theft of property valued at more than $500 has different consequences. You might also be charged with theft as an accomplice if prosecutors believe your actions were associated with the theft, such as someone who distracts an employee while another shoplifts.

Direct Consequences

If convicted of 3rd degree theft in Alabama, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail in either a county or city facility. You will likely have to pay a fine as well of up to $2,000. If you face multiple charges, the judge decides whether sentences run concurrently or consecutively. If the judge sentences you to two six-month sentences to run concurrently, you will spend a maximum of six months in jail for this offense. If the sentences run consecutively, the maximum time will be one year.

Expungement

You may be able to have your criminal record in Alabama erased, or expunged. If you were a juvenile at the time of the crime, the judge may order the charges dropped after completing the sentence. Adults may also petition the district attorney's office to ask for expungement once the sentence is finished. Adults may also request expungement of theft records if the records contain inaccurate or incomplete information or if the conviction is reversed.

Other Repercussions

Alabama legislation interprets theft as a crime of "moral turpitude," one that illustrates someone's dishonesty or lack of morals. As such, immigrants convicted of theft can be deported, even if they are permanent legal residents. Unless you can get your record expunged, a conviction can remain on your record for life, which may make it difficult for you to get a job or even join the military.

About the Author

Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.