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How Property Valuations May Affect the Degree of Theft Offenses

The Stoves Law Firm

When faced with theft charges in Alabama, one critical aspect that can be overlooked is the determination of property value. A recent Alabama judicial opinion sheds light on this issue, illustrating how courts may fail to properly assess the value of stolen property, potentially affecting the outcome of a case.

In the recently decided case, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals had to decide whether the State presented sufficient evidence of the value of stolen property to support the defendant’s conviction for first-degree receiving stolen property. The defendant was also convicted of first-degree robbery, resulting in a life sentence. While his conviction for robbery was upheld, the court reversed the conviction for receiving stolen property due to the lack of evidence regarding the value of the stolen vehicle involved.

The Facts of the Case

According to the facts from the recently published opinion, the defendant was in a car accident with the victim, which was followed by a violent altercation where the defendant brandished a gun, assaulted the victim, and fled the scene in her vehicle. Subsequent investigations revealed that the vehicle had been reported stolen earlier that month. However, the gradation of the charge depended on the value of the vehicle.

The appellate court emphasized the importance of proving the value of stolen property in such cases. Alabama law provides that receiving stolen property exceeding a certain value constitutes a more severe offense. In this instance, the State failed to provide adequate evidence of the vehicle’s value, despite attempts to introduce an exhibit reflecting its worth.

The appellate court’s decision illustrates a common defense in theft-related cases: the requirement of proving the value of stolen property beyond a reasonable doubt. Without this evidence, a judge or jury cannot legally return a conviction. And as demonstrated by the recent case, prosecutors may pursue and even obtain convictions for first-degree felony theft offenses without properly submitting evidence of the value of the alleged stolen property.

For those facing Alabama theft charges, this case highlights the importance of retaining a skilled Birmingham theft crimes lawyer who is capable of challenging the prosecution’s evidence and advocating for a fair outcome.

Have You Been Charged with Theft in Alabama?

If you or a loved one has been charged with an Alabama theft crime, it is important to seek experienced legal counsel who can thoroughly examine the evidence presented against you and identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. At The Stoves Law Firm, P.C., Attorney Jason Stoves aggressively defends the rights and freedoms of clients charged with all types of felony and misdemeanor theft crimes, including receiving stolen property. We are immediately available to meet with you during a free consultation to discuss your case, review your possible defenses, and start putting together a compelling defense strategy. To learn more, and to schedule your free consultation today, contact the Stoves Law Firm, P.C., at (205) 823-7233. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form.  

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