Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Charges


Facing criminal charges for the first time can be a harrowing experience. The legal system in Alabama can be incredibly complex, and much of the legal code can be difficult to understand for the average person.

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It is critical to be educated about the legal code and what constitutes a specific crime and what type of punishments are available for that particular crime. Knowing the laws and what types of crimes are felonies and what types are misdemeanors can help you ensure you are getting a fair trial if you are facing criminal charges.

Misdemeanor VS Felony Charges

Criminal charges are broken down into two separate groups. One group of charges is felony charges and the other group is misdemeanor charges. Many people are not aware of what the difference is between the two groups of charges, but there is definitely a very big, important difference.

One of the biggest differences between the two groups of charges is that misdemeanor charges are often less severe and for what the court considers less serious crimes than felony charges.

This means that the sentences doled out for misdemeanors have very short prison terms, if any at all. Most misdemeanor charges are less than a year of prison time and usually a fine of a maximum of $5,000.

The amount of jail time, if any, or the amount of the fine, is largely based on the type of crime committed and the facts surrounding the incident.

A few examples of misdemeanor charges include disorderly conduct, simple assault, certain types of vandalism, and public intoxication.

Felony charges are usually only given out for more serious crimes.

These types of charges carry heavy prison sentences and very expensive fines. The court considers these crimes to be a threat to the safety and well-being of the citizens of Alabama.

Crimes such as murder, manslaughter, rape, and selling drugs are among some of the most serious felony crimes.

Classes of Felonies and Misdemeanors

Both felonies and misdemeanors are broken down into classes that signify the severity of the offense. There are three classes of felonies and three classes of misdemeanors.

Felonies are broken down into Class A, B, and C offenses.

Class C felony offenses are the least severe of the felony charges. People who are charged with a Class C felony can face anywhere from a year and one day up to 10 years total. There is also a $15,000 fine that could be combined with the prison time.

Class B felonies come with a sentence from a year and one day all the way up to 20 years maximum and a fine of up to $30,000.

Class A felonies have the most severe penalties with them. The maximum sentence is life or 99 years in prison without the possibility of parole for those who have been convicted of murder charges.

In some cases, if the crime is severe and heinous enough, the court could hand down the death penalty as the punishment for a Class A felony. Class A felonies are serious business.

Misdemeanor charges are broken down into similar classes.

Class C misdemeanors are the lightest of the charges with a sentence of up to three months and a fine of no more than $500.

A Class B misdemeanor is no more than six months in county jail with the possibility of a fine of $3,000 for a conviction. Class A misdemeanor convictions carry a sentence of up to a year in prison and a $6,000 fine.

Probation in Alabama

Sometimes during the sentencing of an individual for a specific crime, the court will decide against incarceration and instead put someone on probation. The court system in Alabama is free to use probation for just about any type of case that does not carry a punishment of the death penalty for a prison term of longer than 15 years.

Alabama court also has the authority to suspend a person’s prison sentence and place the individual on probation. While the person may be released back into society, they are not simply free to go and do whatever they want.

Probation comes with a very specific set of rules that are used to monitor the defendant to make sure they serve the rest of their sentence and are rehabilitated enough to rejoin society.

One of the main conditions of probation is that the defendant must stay out of further legal trouble. They must not participate in any type of activity that is deemed illegal or that could cause the harm of another individual.

Defendants are also required to watch who they build or maintain friendships or relationships with. Hanging around with other felons or criminals can be a violation of a person’s probation in Alabama.

Another condition of probation in Alabama is that they are required to meet with a probation officer on a regularly scheduled basis. The probation officer has the right to conduct drug tests and to ensure that the individual is functioning as a productive member of society.

The probation officer may require that the defendant keep a job in order to stay on probation. If the defendant does not get or maintain employment, they can be considered in violation of their probation.

The length of time an individual can remain on probation will vary depending on the discretion of the court in Alabama.

If the defendant has been convicted on a misdemeanor charge, then the maximum amount of time that individual can be on probation is two years.

If an individual has been convicted of a felony crime, that individual can serve a maximum of five years on probation.

If the court feels that the defendant has violated their parole agreement, an arrest warrant is issued and the individual is arrested.

If the defendant cooperates and does well on probation, the court may consider a recommendation by the parole officer to end the parole early and allow the individual to go back out into society.

This will largely depend on the judge presiding over the matter and the types of improvements made by the defendant during the course of their parole.