FOR YOUR INFORMATION: ALABAMA THEFT LAWS BY THE MORRIS HAYNES LAW FIRM

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I have been asked many times what is the difference in the Degrees of Theft that are listed on the daily Police Reports.

The Morris Haynes Law Firm has provide the following,  for your information.

Birmingham Office – 205-324-4008

Alexander City Office – 256-329-2000

2016 Code of Alabama
Title 13A – CRIMINAL CODE.
Chapter 8 – OFFENSES INVOLVING THEFT.
Article 1 – Theft and Related Offenses.
Section 13A-8-1 – Definitions.

Universal Citation: AL Code § 13A-8-1 (2016)

Section 13A-8-1Definitions.

The following definitions are applicable in this article unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) DECEPTION occurs when a person knowingly:

a. Creates or confirms another’s impression which is false and which the defendant does not believe to be true; or

b. Fails to correct a false impression which the defendant previously has created or confirmed; or

c. Fails to correct a false impression when the defendant is under a duty to do so; or

d. Prevents another from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of the property involved; or

e. Sells or otherwise transfers or encumbers property, failing to disclose a lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property when the defendant is under a duty to do so, whether that impediment is or is not valid, or is not a matter of official record; or

f. Promises performance which the defendant does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed. Failure to perform, standing alone, however, is not proof that the defendant did not intend to perform.

The term “deception” does not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or puffing by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons. “Puffing” means an exaggerated commendation of wares or services.

(2) To “DEPRIVE …” means:

a. To withhold property or cause it to be withheld from a person permanently or for such period or under such circumstances that all or a portion of its use or benefit would be lost to him or her; or

b. To dispose of the property so as to make it unlikely that the owner would recover it; or

c. To retain the property with intent to restore it to the owner only if the owner purchases or leases it back, or pays a reward or other compensation for its return; or

d. To sell, give, pledge, or otherwise transfer any interest in the property; or

e. To subject the property to the claim of a person other than the owner.

(3) FIFTH WHEEL. Coupling between a trailer and a vehicle used for towing.

(4) FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. A bank, insurance company, credit union, safety deposit company, savings and loan association, investment trust, or other organization held out to the public as a place of deposit of funds or medium of savings or collective investment.

(5) FIREARM. A weapon from which a shot is discharged by gunpowder.

(6) GOVERNMENT. The United States, any state or any county, municipality, or other political unit within territory belonging to the United States, or any department, agency, or subdivision of any of the foregoing, or any corporation or other association carrying out the functions of government, or any corporation or agency formed pursuant to interstate compact or international treaty.

As used in this definition “state” includes any state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(7) OBTAINS. Such term means:

a. In relation to property, to bring about a transfer or purported transfer of a legally recognized interest in the property, whether to the obtainer or another; or

b. In relation to labor or service, to secure performance thereof.

(8) OBTAINS OR EXERTS CONTROL or OBTAINS OR EXERTS UNAUTHORIZED CONTROL over property includes but is not necessarily limited to the taking, carrying away, or the sale, conveyance, or transfer of title to, or interest in, or possession of, property, and includes but is not necessarily limited to conduct heretofore defined or known as common law larceny by trespassory taking, common law larceny by trick, larceny by conversion, embezzlement, extortion, or obtaining property by false pretenses.

(9) OWNER. A person, other than the defendant, who has possession of or any other interest in the property involved, even though that interest or possession is unlawful, and without whose consent the defendant has no authority to exert control over the property.

A secured party, as defined in Section 7-9A-102(a)(72), is not an owner in relation to a defendant who is a debtor, as defined in Section 7-9A-102(a)(28), in respect of property in which the secured party has a security interest, as defined in Section 7-1-201(37).

(10) PROPELLED VEHICLE. Any propelled device in, upon, or by which any person or property is transported on land, water, or in the air, and such term includes motor vehicles, motorcycles, motorboats, aircraft, and any vessel propelled by machinery, whether or not that machinery is the principal source of propulsion.

(11) PROPERTY. Any money, tangible or intangible personal property, property (whether real or personal) the location of which can be changed (including things growing on, affixed to, or found in land and documents, although the rights represented hereby have no physical location), contract right, chose-in-action, interest in a claim to wealth, credit, or any other article or thing of value of any kind.

Commodities of a public utility nature, such as gas, electricity, steam, and water, constitute property, but the supplying of such a commodity to premises from an outside source by means of wires, pipes, conduits, or other equipment shall be deemed a rendition of a service rather than a sale or delivery of property.

(12) RECEIVING. Such term includes, but is not limited to, acquiring possession, control, or title and taking a security interest in the property.

(13) STOLEN. Obtained by theft, theft by appropriating lost property, robbery, or extortion.

(14) THREAT. A menace, however communicated, to:

a. Cause physical harm to the person threatened or to any other person; or

b. Cause damage to property; or

c. Subject the person threatened or any other person to physical confinement or restraint; or

d. Engage in other conduct constituting a crime; or

e. Accuse any person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be instituted against any person; or

f. Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule; or

g. Reveal any information sought to be concealed by the person threatened; or

h. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or

i. Take action as an official against anyone or anything, or withhold official action, or cause such action or withholding; or

j. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other similar collective action to obtain property which is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group which the actor purports to represent; or

k. Do any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to harm substantially another person with respect to his or her health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation, or personal relationships.

(15) VALUE. The market value of the property at the time and place of the criminal act.

Whether or not they have been issued or delivered, certain written instruments, not including those having a readily ascertainable market value such as some public and corporate bonds and securities shall be evaluated as follows:

a. The value of an instrument constituting an evidence of debt, such as a check, draft, or promissory note, shall be deemed the amount due or collectible thereon or thereby, that figure ordinarily being the face amount of the indebtedness less any portion thereof which has been satisfied.

b. The value of any other instrument that creates, releases, discharges, or otherwise affects any valuable legal right, privilege, or obligation shall be deemed the greatest amount of economic loss which the owner of the instrument might reasonably suffer by virtue of the loss of the instrument.

When the value of property cannot be ascertained pursuant to the standards set forth above, its value shall be deemed to be an amount not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500).

Amounts involved in thefts committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense; provided, that only one conviction may be had and only one sentence enforced for all thefts included in such aggregate.

2016 Code of Alabama
Title 13A – CRIMINAL CODE.
Chapter 8 – OFFENSES INVOLVING THEFT.
Article 1 – Theft and Related Offenses.
Section 13A-8-2 – Theft of property – Definition; limitations period.

Universal Citation: AL Code § 13A-8-2 (2016)

Section 13A-8-2Theft of property – Definition; limitations period.

(a) A person commits the crime of theft of property if he or she:

(1) Knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of his or her property;

(2) Knowingly obtains by deception control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of his or her property;

(3) Knowingly obtains or exerts control over property in the custody of a law enforcement agency which was explicitly represented to the person by an agent of the law enforcement agency as being stolen; or

(4) Knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over any donated item left on the property of a charitable organization or in a drop box or trailer, or within 30 feet of a drop box or trailer, belonging to a charitable organization.

(b) The limitations period for any prosecution under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) does not commence or begin to accrue until the discovery of the facts constituting the deception, after which the prosecution shall be commenced within five years.

2016 Code of Alabama
Title 13A – CRIMINAL CODE.
Chapter 8 – OFFENSES INVOLVING THEFT.
Article 1 – Theft and Related Offenses.
Section 13A-8-3 – Theft of property in the first degree.

Universal Citation: AL Code § 13A-8-3 (2016)

Section 13A-8-3Theft of property in the first degree.

(a) The theft of property which exceeds two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in value, or property of any value taken from the person of another, constitutes theft of property in the first degree.

(b) The theft of a motor vehicle, regardless of its value, constitutes theft of property in the first degree.

(c)(1) The theft of property which involves all of the following constitutes theft of property in the first degree:

a. The theft is a common plan or scheme by one or more persons; and

b. The object of the common plan or scheme is to sell or transfer the property to another person or business that buys the property with knowledge or reasonable belief that the property is stolen; and

c. The aggregate value of the property stolen is at least one thousand dollars ($1,000) within a 180-day period.

(2) If the offense under this subsection involves two or more counties, prosecution may be commenced in any one of those counties in which the offense occurred or in which the property was disposed.

(d) Theft of property in the first degree is a Class B felony.

2016 Code of Alabama
Title 13A – CRIMINAL CODE.
Chapter 8 – OFFENSES INVOLVING THEFT.
Article 1 – Theft and Related Offenses.
Section 13A-8-4 – Theft of property in the second degree.

Universal Citation: AL Code § 13A-8-4 (2016)

Section 13A-8-4Theft of property in the second degree.

(a) The theft of property between one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) in value and two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in value, and which is not taken from the person of another, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.

(b) Theft of property in the second degree is a Class C felony.

(c) The theft of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun, regardless of its value, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.

(d) The theft of any substance controlled by Chapter 2 of Title 20 or any amendments thereto, regardless of value, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.

(e) The theft of any livestock which includes cattle, swine, equine or equidae, or sheep, regardless of their value, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.

2016 Code of Alabama
Title 13A – CRIMINAL CODE.
Chapter 8 – OFFENSES INVOLVING THEFT.
Article 1 – Theft and Related Offenses.
Section 13A-8-4.1 – Theft of property in the third degree.

Universal Citation: AL Code § 13A-8-4.1 (2016)

Section 13A-8-4.1Theft of property in the third degree.

(a) The theft of property that exceeds five hundred dollars ($500) in value but does not exceed one thousand four hundred and ninety-nine dollars ($1,499) in value, and which is not taken from the person of another, constitutes theft of property in the third degree.

(b) Theft of property in the third degree is a Class D felony.

(c) The theft of a credit card or a debit card, regardless of its value, constitutes theft of property in the third degree.

2016 Code of Alabama
Title 13A – CRIMINAL CODE.
Chapter 8 – OFFENSES INVOLVING THEFT.
Article 1 – Theft and Related Offenses.
Section 13A-8-5 – Theft of property in the fourth degree.

Universal Citation: AL Code § 13A-8-5 (2016)

Section 13A-8-5Theft of property in the fourth degree.

(a) The theft of property which does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500) in value and which is not taken from the person of another constitutes theft of property in the fourth degree.

(b) Theft of property in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

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