The Degrees of Theft in Alabama
Research has indicated that theft and larceny make up 60% of the all crimes committed in the United States. Put differently, if that research is true, theft crimes are more prevalent than all of the other types of criminal activity combined. In Alabama, Larceny is no longer a statutory charge. Rather, theft and it’s related crimes are all treated as theft and dealt with under 13A-8 of the Alabama Code.
In this guide we will discuss the degrees of theft, lesser included charges, and statutory defenses.
Theft in the Fourth Degree: Code of Alabama 13A-8-5A person is guilty of Theft in the Fourth Degree if the property stolen is equal to or less than $500.00. This is a class A Misdemeanor.
Theft in the Third Degree: Code of Alabama 13A-8-4.1Theft in the Third Degree refers to theft of property that exceeds $500.00 in value but is less than $1,499.00. However, there is an exception: theft of a credit or debit card, regardless of the amount of money on the card, automatically constitutes a theft in the third degree. Theft in the third degree is a Class D Felony.
Theft in the Second Degree: Code of Alabama 13A-8-4Theft in the Second Degree pertains to property ranging from $1,500.00 to $2,500.00 in value. Further, the theft of any firearm, controlled substance, or livestock automatically constitutes Theft in the Second Degree. Theft in the Second Degree constitutes a Class C Felony.
Theft in the First Degree: Code of Alabama 13A-8-3If the property stolen is worth more than $2,500, Theft in the First Degree is the appropriate charge. However, as with Theft in the Second and Third Degree, there are two exceptions. First, in certain circumstances, a person can be charged with theft in the first degree if they committed the theft as part of a criminal organization.
Far more frequently, a person is charged with theft in the first degree under the other exception: if the property stolen is a motor vehicle. Though *motor vehicle* is not defined under the statute, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has held that the term goes beyond licensed vehicles or vehicles capable of being driven on public roads. Thus, in theory a person could be charged with Theft in the First Degree for stealing a golf cart, a motorized scooter, or even a riding lawnmower.