People accused of robbery in Alabama may face serious long-term consequences if they are convicted. There are several different kinds of theft charges, and not all of them amount to robbery. In most cases, robbery is considered a violent crime as it is classified as taking another person's property through force or the threat of force. There are several different categories of robbery charges in the state, which depend on the circumstances of the incidents involved, and sentencing can vary depending on the charges.
Before sentencing in a robbery case, an accused person must be convicted of the charges by a jury or through a guilty plea. The most serious form of a robbery charge in Alabama is robbery in the first degree and usually includes allegations that a deadly weapon was used or threatened to be used in the course of the theft. Sometimes it is referred to as "armed robbery," although the presence of a deadly weapon is not required for this charge. Sentences for robbery in the first degree can range up to 20 years to life in prison.
Robbery in the second degree typically applies to cases where multiple people are accused of being involved in a forceful but unarmed theft. Sentencing for a Class B felony can range from two to 20 years in prison. The least serious charge, robbery in the third degree, can still lead to one to 10 years in prison. Shoplifters who used some type of force to leave the store with the goods are often accused of third-degree robbery.
While force is an element of a robbery charge, no actual force must have been used in order for a person to be accused. People facing these felony charges can contact a criminal defense attorney to work to avoid a conviction.