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Huntsville Theft & Property Crime

“Property crimes” is a broad term. Property can refer to absolutely anything that is not a living, human being that can be owned or possessed. This includes real estate, the structures on top of it, vehicles, the furniture and other items people and businesses own, and even animals. When a store has inventory on its shelves for sale, that inventory is legally the store's until someone buys it. Property can even refer to money, bank and other financial accounts, and intangibles. Property crime in Huntsville, AL may include:

If you've been accused of a property crime in Madison County, you've been accused of taking, damaging or otherwise compromising someone else's property. There are many ways for property crimes to arise out of false accusations. There might be misunderstandings of ownership, or confusion in intent. Sometimes, the wrong person is accused. If you've been charged with any kind of crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges.

Huntsville, Alabama Theft Defense Lawyer

Our team at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal will fight for your rights, no matter what kind of crime you've been accused of and no matter what circumstances led to your charges. The principles of “innocent until proven guilty” guide us as attorneys, and we fight for justice for our clients. Call us at (256) 533-4529 or send an online message today, and let the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal set up a free consultation to discuss your charges. Andrew and Sandra Segal understand criminal courtrooms. Both have served as prosecutors — Sandra Segal for the Huntsville City Attorney, and Andrew Segal for the Alabama Attorney General and Madison County District Attorney. If you've been accused of any crime, especially a crime of trust like theft, it's important that judges and juries hear from someone they believe. We practice with an integrity that honors our profession, and juries, judges and even prosecutors can see that. If you've been accused of any kind of property crime in the Huntsville-Decatur area, including Madison, Morgan, Marshall, Limestone or Jackson County, call us today so our Huntsville property crime and theft lawyers can help you.

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Alabama Property Crime Information Center

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Common Types of Property Crimes

Theft is the most encompassing property crime, so big an entire chapter of Alabama criminal code is dedicated to it. There are many different kinds of theft, with different charges for each. Theft of merchandise is probably what most people think about first when they think of theft. It means knowingly taking or taking control of property with the intent of depriving the owner of said property, or if the property is in possession of law enforcement, or if the property is a charitable donation. There are three degrees of theft of property, including both felony theft of property charges and misdemeanor theft of property charges. The degrees generally depend on the value or type of item allegedly stolen. (Alabama Code 13A-8-3, 13A-8-4, 13A-8-5) Theft of services involves intentionally obtaining services like labor, professional services, transportation or public services, or hotel and food services, and taking them while avoiding payment, or being in charge of those services and letting people have them for free. Examples include anywhere from “dining and dashing” to fraudulently stealing thousands of dollars worth of service. It also would include situations where the defendant is a waiter or a bartender at a restaurant or bar he or she does not own, and he or she allows friends or family to eat or have drinks without paying. Another example would be employee of a retail store that either provides friends with an unauthorized discount or a system in some way with getting property for either free or below the value that the retailer has set. Theft of services has three “degrees” based on the value of the property, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. (Alabama Code 13A-8-10.1, 13A-8-10.2, 13A-8-10.3) There are a variety of crimes that can be committed that involve motor vehicles. They include theft of a motor vehicle, or stealing a car, unauthorized use of a vehicle, which is taking control of any vehicle without consent, including rental vehicles, and borrowed vehicles. Another crime that is often encountered is breaking and entering a vehicle, which is when a person allegedly breaks into a vehicle with the intent of committing theft. All are serious charges. (Alabama Code 13A-8-3, 13A-8-11) Receiving stolen property means buying, accepting or disposing of stolen property that the accused either knows have been stolen or has reasonable grounds to believe it might be stolen, and has no intention of returning to the rightful owner. If a person is alleged to have, on two separate occasions in the past year, is in possession or control of stolen merchandise, or goods or merchandise recently stolen, or that person is in the business of buying and selling property and does not make a “reasonable inquiry” as to whether the property being sold to him or her is stolen, then any of those facts serves as “prima facie” evidence, or serves as evidence that “on its face” that the person knew the property was stolen. There are three “degrees” to this crime, ranging from felonies to misdemeanors. (Alabama Code 13A-8-17, 13A-8-18, 13A-8-19) Robbery is, very simply, theft with violence or the threat of violence. A person charged with robbery is alleged to have used some kind of force or threatened to use force against another person in order to take or escape with property. Robbery has three degrees. Unlike other property crimes, they are not ranked by the value of the property stolen, but rather the methods used. Any kind of robbery is a felony. (Alabama Code 13A-8-41, 13A-8-42, 13A-8-43) If a person is alleged to have been on premises and he or she either knew he or she had no right to be there or had been asked to leave, that person might be charged with criminal trespass. There are three degrees of criminal trespass, which relate to the type of property being trespassed upon. For instance, invading a home is the most serious form of criminal trespass. All charges of criminal trespass are misdemeanors or violations. (Alabama Code 13A-7-2, 13A-7-3, 13A-7-4) If the person allegedly enters a building with the intent of commit a crime, however, the charge becomes the much more serious charge of burglary. Burglary is defined as entering a building or remaining unlawfully inside a building with the intent to commit a crime — any type of crime, not just theft. There are three degrees of burglary, relating to whether the person was armed or harmed anybody, but all three are felonies. (Alabama Code 13A-7-5, 13A-7-6, 13A-7-7) Criminal mischief is an allegation that a person damaged property he or she had no right to damage. It can mean spray painting graffiti, keying a car, or more serious damage. There are three degrees, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. They mostly pertain to the monetary value of the damage, but if an explosion was involved, it's automatically a felony. (Alabama Code 13A-7-21, 13A-7-22, 13A-7-23) Arson is damaging a building by fire or an explosion. It can be a misdemeanor if the fire or explosion was caused recklessly. However, if it was intentional, arson is a felony, and if a person was in the building and the accused either knows or knew there was a reasonable possibility of it, it becomes a Class A felony, the most serious. (Alabama Code 13A-7-41, 13A-7-42, 13A-7-43) While there is a “forgery” charge, it is more common for people who are alleged to engage in forgery to be charged with possession of a forged instrument. This simply means that the accused is in possession of an item that has been forged and knows it is a forgery. The item can be a check, a will, a public record or any kind of document that would advantage or disadvantage the accused or any other person. There are three degrees relating to the type of item, ranging from a felony to a misdemeanor. (Alabama Code 13A-9-5, 13A-9-6, 13A-9-7)

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Punishments for Property Crimes and Theft

Punishment depends on the type of charge.

Classification Prison Time (Years) Fines (Up to)
Class A Felony 10-99, or Life $60,000
Class B Felony 2-20 $30,000
Class C Felony 1-10 $15,000
Class A Misdemeanor Up to 1 $6,000
Class B Misdemeanor Up to 6 Months $3,000
Class C Misdemeanor Up to 3 Months $500
Violation Up to 30 Days $200

If you've been convicted of a property crime previously, your punishment may be considerably worse. In addition to jail time and fines, there may be other consequences. Any conviction will be on your criminal record, and could show up in a background check. A potential employer who sees a conviction for theft may be reluctant to give you a job in which you are entrusted with anything of value. A loan officer may hesitate about your documents once he or she sees a possession of a forged instrument conviction. And a potential landlord may not want to rent to people with convictions for arson, or even criminal mischief. The effects of a conviction are far-reaching. Don't be caught without a solid defense. A criminal defense lawyer can help you build that defense.

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Alabama Resources for Property Crimes

National Association for Shoplifting Prevention: Organization dedicated to preventing shoplifting. This site includes links to Shoplifters Anonymous information. Alabama Code, Title 13A, Chapter 8: Alabama laws on theft. Alabama Code, Title 13A, Chapter 7: Alabama laws on damage to and intrusion into property.

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Finding the Best Theft Lawyer in Huntsville Alabama

If you've been charged with any kind of property crime or theft, let our property crime attorneys at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal handle your defense. Our experienced team will fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed, and will fight for you in court if you plead “not guilty.” We are proud to represent clients throughout the Huntsville area, including Decatur, Madison, Athens and Albertville. Call us today at Law Offices Of Segal & Segal to set up a free consultation to discuss your property crime charges.