In Alabama sentences and fines are based on how the particular crime is classified. Crimes are divided into three general categories; violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. In 2016 Alabama added Class D Felonies to the Alabama Criminal Code.
Violations are the least severe of the three classifications of crimes. Jail sentences are limited to a maximum of 30 days in the county jail. Typically, a person charged with a violation receives a money fine under $200.00. Examples of violations include such things as traffic tickets and criminal trespass 3rd degree.
Misdemeanor criminal charges are classified into three classes: A, B, and C.
Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, and are eligible for a jail sentence of up to one (1) year and a fine up to $6,000.00. Examples of Class A misdemeanors are assault 3rd degree, domestic violence, theft of property 3rd degree, possession of drug paraphernalia, and criminal mischief 2nd degree.
Class B misdemeanors charges could result in jail sentences of up to six (6) months and fines of up to $3,000.00. Examples of Class B misdemeanors include, resisting arrest, tampering with a witness, open house party, and cruelty to animals.
Class C misdemeanors charges could result in jail sentences of up to three (3) months and fines of up to $500.00. Examples of Class C misdemeanors include, open container, public lewdness, harassment, and disorderly conduct.
Alabama’s Criminal Code was amended in 2016 to change the classification system for felony offenses. In the past, felony criminal charges were classified like misdemeanor offenses, into three classes: A, B, and C. The prison reform law of 2016 changes this, and now the Alabama Criminal Code has four classes of felony offenses: Class A, B, C, and D.
Class A felonies are the most serious, and are eligible for a jail sentence of at least ten (10) years, up to ninety-nine (99) years or life. Fines can go up to $60,000.00. Class A felonies typically include violent crimes or crimes that involve danger to another person. Examples of Class A felony offenses include, murder, kidnapping 1st degree, rape 1st degree, robbery 1st degree, burglary 1st degree, and arson 1st degree.
Class B felonies could result in a jail sentence of two (2) years up to twenty (20) years. Fines can go up to $30,000.00. Examples of Class B felony offenses include, manslaughter, unlawful distribution of drugs, assault 2nd degree, rape 2nd degree, domestic violence 2nd degree, theft of property 1st degree, and burglary 2nd degree.
Class C felonies are punishable by a prison sentence of at least one (1) year and one (1) day up to two (10) years. Fines can go up to $15,000.00. Examples of Class C felony offenses include, interference with custody, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, sexual abuse, theft of services, extortion 3rd degree, bribery, unlawful possession of marijuana 1st degree, and firearms charges.
Class D felonies are punishable by a prison sentence of not more than five (5) years, or less than one (1) year and one (1) day. Fines can be up to $7,500.00
SPECIAL PROVISIONS REGARDING CLASS D FELONIES
Where a Class D felony results in a prison sentence, the sentence is limited to two (2) years, and is to be served in a Community Correction Facility. Because of the two (2) limitation, if the sentence is longer than two (2) years, it is given as a split sentence, with 2 years to serve and the remainder on probation. Sentences on Class D felonies are not eligible for “good time” (Correctional Incentive Time), therefore, they are served essentially day-for-day. Class D offenses are subject to the Alabama Sentencing Guidelines. Class D offenses and convictions are not subject to the Alabama Habitual Offender Act.
ALTERNATE FINES FOR OFFENSES INVOLVING PECUNIARY GAIN
As to all felony offenses, the Court may assess a fine up to double the amount of the pecuniary gain involved in the particular case. For example, in a theft case, where the item stolen is valued at $10,000.00, the Court could assess a fine of $20,000.00 or the normal fine under the class of felony listed above.
CERTAIN SPECIFIC OFFENSES WITH FINES IMPOSED UNDER THEIR SPECIFIC STATUTE
There are a number of criminal offenses in Alabama that have a specific fine which can be assessed per the specific statute. One example is Drug Trafficking cases. Under the drug trafficking statute, the Court is mandated to impose a particular fine. See our discussion of Drug Trafficking Cases for more details.
The attorneys at Bradford Ladner, LLP can meet with you and review your case to determine the potential sentences, fines and judicial requirements of your criminal charge.
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