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Alabama Theft Laws
Alabama Theft Laws
Theft and Property Valued Offenses - Values Increased Act 2003-355(HB 491) Effective September 1, 2003
This Act amends sections 13A-8-3 relating to Theft of Property in the 1st degree, 13A-8-7 relating to theft of lost property in the first degree, 13A-8-10.1 relating to theft of services in the first degree and 13A-8-17 relating to receiving stolen property in the first degree, all Class B felonies, to increase the value of the property stolen or received to more than $2,500. In addition, sections 13A-8-4 relating to theft of property in the second degree, 13A-8-8 relating to theft of lost property in the second degree, 13A-8-10.2 relating to theft of services in the 2nd degree, 13A-8-18 relating to receiving stolen property in the second degree and 13A-8-23 relating to felony utility theft, all Class C felonies, are amended to increase the value of the property stolen or received to property valued over $500 but not more than $2,500.00. Sections 13A-8-1 relating to the value of property that cannot be ascertained, 13A-8-5 relating to theft of property in the third degree, 13A-8-9, relating to theft of lost property in the third degree, 13A-8-10.3 relating to theft of services in the third degree, 13A-8-19 relating to receiving stolen property in the third degree and 13A-8-23 relating to misdemeanor utility theft, all Class A misdemeanors are also amended to increase the value of the property involved to $500 or less. To be consistent with revised values of the theft statutes, the Act also amends the following property valued statutes: § 13A-7-21, 22 and 23 - Criminal Mischief in the first, second and third degrees, § 13A-9-73, 74 and 75 - charitable fraud in the first, second and third degrees, § 13A-9-91 - illegal possession of food stamps in the first, second and third degrees, § 13A-8-102(d)(3) - offenses against intellectual property, § 13A-8-144 - fraudulent leasing/rental of property, and § 13A-8-72 - identity theft in the first and second degrees and defacement of public property.
Retail Association's Amendments An escalator provision was also included for the offense of theft of property in the 2nd degree and receiving stolen property in the 2nd degree to provide lower values of property for defendants with prior convictions of theft 1st or 2nd or receiving stolen property in the 1st or 2nd degrees. Under current law, the value of property subject to theft of property 2nd is decreased if the defendant is a repeat theft offender. The amendments provide that the theft of property which exceeds $250 in value (was $100) but does not exceed $2500.00 (was $1,000) that is not taken from the person of another constitutes theft of property in the 2nd degree if the defendant has previously been convicted of theft of property 1st or 2nd or receiving stolen property in the 1st or 2nd degrees. In addition to adding "receiving stolen property 1st or 2nd " as a prior offense, a similar escalator clause was added to § 13A-8-17, receiving stolen property in the second degree.
Municipal Court Clerks' Association Amendment
A separate provision was included to increase the fine jurisdiction for municipal courts to $1,000 for persons "convicted for violating any misdemeanor in this act adopted as a municipal ordinance violation or adjudicated as a youthful offender."
Following is a graphic display of the amendments to the 31 theft and property offenses affected:
Class B Felony >>$2500
Class C Felony >>$500 to $2500
Class A Misdemeanor $500 or less
Theft of property in the third 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 third degree.
(b) Theft of property in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor.
(Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, §3204; Acts 1978, No. 770, p. 1110; Acts 1992, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 92-682, p. 68, §2; Act 2003-355, p. 962, §1.)
Theft of property in the second degree.
(a) The theft of property which exceeds five hundred dollars ($500) in value but does not exceed 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 credit card or a debit card, regardless of its value, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.
(d) The theft of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun, regardless of its value, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.
(e) 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.
(f) 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.
(g) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the theft of property which exceeds two hundred fifty dollars ($250) in value but does not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in value, and which is not taken from the person of another, where the defendant has previously been convicted of a theft of property in the first or second degree or receiving stolen property in the first or second degree, constitutes theft of property in the second degree.
Theft 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.
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) 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.
(4) FIREARM. A weapon from which a shot is discharged by gunpowder.
(5) 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.
(6) 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.
(7) 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.
(8) 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).
(9) 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.
(10) 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.
(11) RECEIVING. Such term includes, but is not limited to, acquiring possession, control, or title and taking a security interest in the property.
(12) STOLEN. Obtained by theft, theft by appropriating lost property, robbery, or extortion.
(13) 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.
(14) 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.
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Please note, the theft law information on this page is provided as a courtesy to help explain theft, shoplifting and stealing laws. There is no guarantee or assurance of reliability or validity. Laws change over time and this page may or may not be current. The code that is provided on this site is an unofficial posting of the State Codes. The files making up this Internet version of the State Codes do not constitute the official text of the State Codes and are intended for informational purposes only. No representation is made as to the accuracy or completeness of these sections. While every effort was made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the statutes available Offender Solutions™ shall not be liable or held responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur in these files, they are provided on an "As Is" basis. Use of the information and services are at the sole risk of the user. For official versions of any state's current laws, the user is directed to that states Revised Statutes, all amendments and cumulative supplements thereto published by that state. Please notify the Webmaster if you find any irregularities in the statutes on this web site. The Webmaster will relay the information to appropriate staff to investigate the irregularities. The printed version of the State Codes should be consulted for all matters requiring reliance on the statutory text. If you were involved in a theft or shoplifting incident you are encouraged to consider taking a theft cloass, theft course or shoplifting education class such as the one provided by offender solutions. Research shows theft school and/or theft education can be an effective theft prevention. Offender Solutions™ is an online theft education, shoplifting education class about stealing, it can be very effective if you want to stop stealing. Evan it was a small theft, a petty theft class or petty theft school could be right for you!
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SHOPLIFTING THEFT STEALING
Shoplifting is not a crime, it is a euphemism for the word stealing or theft, and theft is a crime. I'm not sure why our culture allowed the word "theft" to be different for someone who steals from a store, but the effect has been to minimize its seriousness in the mind of the shoplifter, our society and, interestingly, the police. It would seem logical for someone who is shoplifting to minimize the seriousness of this crime by calling it "shoplifting", but for the police to be swayed to this way of thinking is no less sacrilegious than for an American citizen to allow the euphemism, "casualty of war" to replace the word "death", minimizing the sacrifices of our Veterans.
The same point can be made of the term "petty theft". Doesn't the word "petty" conjure up notions of insignificance, unimportance and irrelevance? It almost appears the police and our society have fallen victim to a very successful propaganda campaign intending to minimize the seriousness of theft from a store by calling it "shoplifting". Actually, if you take time to think about it, whether the item is stolen from a store, your employer, or, has great or small value, it is still stealing. It is also a statement about the shoplifters character.
I don't work for a store or retailer and I do not spend my time trying to show retailers how to better protect themselves from shoplifting with cameras, mirrors, electronic tags, security personnel, etc. I spend my time helping theft offenders think through their actions, attitudes, values and beliefs. Working with most people who steal is not all that difficult. What I have discovered through theft offender counseling is that most theft offenders have relatively transparent thinking errors. For example, if you believed 2 + 3 equals 6 you would have a thinking error. Your thinking error would not readily be identified, (How often do you do math out loud or in front of someone, and, to take it even further, how many people are willing to confront you with your math error?). However, once this thinking error is identified, you would be quick to self correct.
There is also such a thing as a "cultural thinking error." One common cultural thinking error occurs when we minimize the impact of shoplifting by buying into the notion that if someone is "shoplifting", he must be a victim. Common cultural thinking errors are that theft offenders are victims of poverty, poor parenting, hunger, alcohol and drugs, ADHD, peer pressure, etc. The fact is, most people who steal from stores are none of the above and, all people who choose to steal from stores have options to stealing. Oh, kleptomania you say?
People who are shoplifting are not all that different from you and I. Simply stated, the primary differences include, 1) an overdose of selfishness, 2) a stronger than normal attraction to the forbidden, 3) thinking errors you and I don't have, and, most of all, 4) they don't self punish the thought of stealing.