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Is it a crime to offer someone money to not prosecute a crime in Alabama?

Posted by Andrew Segal | Jan 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

In Alabama is it a crime to offer somebody money to not press charges?

The answer is, I‘m going to give you an example, and you're going to tell me if the person is guilty or not.

Let's say I have a friend Knuckles Malone, and Knuckles gets mad and smashes his neighbor's windshield. The next day Knuckles thinks ‘I lost my temper I shouldn't have done that.' And it's going to cost $500 to repair that windshield. So he goes to the neighbor and says “look I'm an idiot, I busted your windshield, I'm so sorry. I know how much it's going to cost to fix.  It's gonna be $500, so here's $500, my fault sorry.”

Has Knuckles committed a crime?

The answer under Alabama law is probably not.

Now why he offered money?

But he didn't offer him money to try to get him to not prosecute, he just offered him money to make him whole. And the law specifically says that offering to make a victim whole is not committing a crime, as long as it's not coupled with “hey you don't really want to prosecute me.” kind of deal, so there you have it.

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About the Author

Andrew Segal

Andrew Segal is a former prosecutor who now represents the accused as a criminal defense attorney in Huntsville, Alabama area courts. Andrew graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1982. During his time at Washington College of Law at American University, he discovered hi...

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