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Birmingham Shoplifting Lawyer

Defending Against Shoplifting Charges in Alabama

Although shoplifting is not often considered serious, the charges can have serious consequences depending on the specifics of your situation. At Ingram Law, our Birmingham shoplifting attorney is passionate about protecting our clients’ rights. Shoplifting charges are often subject to municipal law, meaning the city or county where you were arrested. Attorney Joe Ingram has extensive knowledge of shoplifting law specific to municipalities throughout Alabama.

If you have been arrested for shoplifting, call (205) 335-2640 for immediate assistance.

Classifications for Shoplifting Charges in Alabama

The exact charge for shoplifting can vary, depending on the value of the property. As the value of the property increases, the criminal charges become more serious. While a fourth-degree theft charge is the least serious, any arrest and conviction results in a criminal record and a jail sentence has a severe impact on your life, even if it is only a year.

The classifications for shoplifting charges include:

  • Fourth-degree theft – Stealing property valued under $500 is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine no more than $6,000.
  • Third-degree theft – This charge applies to property valued between $500 and $1,499. If convicted, you could face up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $7,500.
  • Second-degree theft – When an individual is accused of property valued between $1,500 and $2,500, he or she could be charged with second-degree theft. This charge has potential penalties that include one to 10 years in jail and up to a $15,000 fine.
  • First-degree theft – This category is for theft that involves property valued at more than $2,500. The punishment for these situations may include a sentence of 2 - 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $30,000.

In addition to jail time and fines, you could be facing civil penalties. In Alabama, the merchant may bring a lawsuit in civil court to recover damages. You could be responsible for the full value of the merchandise, recovery expenses, attorney fees, and court costs. Our Birmingham shoplifting attorney works to expeditiously resolve shoplifting and other municipal law issues.

Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges

The key element of a shoplifting charge is intent to commit the crime. When someone tries on clothes or jewelry, it is not uncommon for someone to simply walk off with the merchandise by mistake. Even if a person technically leaves the merchant and allegedly commits the crime, no intention of committing the crime may not result in conviction.

The following are common legal defenses to shoplifting:

No intent – As we mentioned above, if there is no intent to steal, then a conviction may not be the outcome, even though the merchant (plaintiff) may only need to prove the intent to conceal to bring charges.

An accident – Many people try on multiple pieces of clothing in a changing room, unless the store has a rule about only trying on one or two items at a time. When a person tries on different clothes at once, he/she may have a different pair of pants on but his/her original shirt. If the person accidentally walks out the store still wearing the item, the merchant may claim shoplifting.

Mistaken identity – If an eyewitness claims someone committed shoplifting although the alleged offender did not steal anything, the defendant can then claim mistaken identity. The defendant’s lawyer tries to gain all the details surrounding the incident to either refute the defendant’s identity or cause the witness to second guess what he/she believes had observed.

Our Birmingham shoplifting attorney at Ingram Law can listen to your story, thoroughly review your case, and determine your available legal defenses to protect your rights and freedom throughout the legal process.

Contact Our Shoplifting Lawyer in Birmingham Today

Facing a shoplifting charge can be nerve-wracking. It is important to have experienced legal representation on your side. We are often able to have the charges reduced or the case dismissed. If the case is dismissed, our legal team can work to have the case expunged from your record. We encourage you to contact us as early in the process as possible so that we can advocate for you and ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact Ingram Law at (205) 335-2640 for more information and to arrange a consultation.


Get to Know Your Attorney

Learn More About Joe Ingram

Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorney Mr. Ingram is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. After earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Samford University, he worked for Alabama Power in Corporate Accounting. Mr. Ingram earned his law degree from Birmingham School of Law in 2002. While attending law school, Mr. Ingram worked as a law clerk in the Office of District Attorney for the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Jefferson County, Alabama. He has also served as an Assistant District Attorney in Baldwin County.

    Proven Track Record

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