Birmingham has Alabama’s highest crime rate and is one of the top cities in the United States in crime rates according to FBI statistics. Even if you don’t live in Birmingham, you should still be prepared when you face criminal charges. That means learning about Alabama’s criminal laws.
Use LawInfo’s criminal law articles to help educate yourself about Alabama’s laws and how they affect your case. You can learn about the difference between misdemeanors and felonies, intoxicated driving charges and many other state-specific criminal law topics. You can also use LawInfo to connect with an Alabama criminal law attorney in Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile or elsewhere in the state.
Every state has its own system of classifying crimes which also identifies the statutory punishments for each classification. Like most states, Alabama has two main classifications of crimes: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are more severe crimes than misdemeanors and typically carry heavier sentences.
All Alabama felonies and misdemeanors carry a fine and an imprisonment term in their sentences. The minimum and maximum sentences for felonies and misdemeanors include:
Lesser crimes like traffic violations are classified as violations in Alabama. Violations carry a sentence of up to $200 and 30 days in county jail.
The most severe crimes are called capital offenses in Alabama. These crimes may carry the death penalty or life imprisonment if the defendant is found guilty. Murder is the only capital offense in Alabama, though its laws specify the exact kinds of murders that qualify as capital offenses, including:
Not all homicides are treated equally under Alabama law. Some homicides may receive lighter sentences than others depending on the defendant’s intentions and emotional state when they committed the crime. This is the difference that separates murder convictions from manslaughter convictions.
A homicide is classified as manslaughter if the defendant’s actions were reckless or influenced by the heat of passion. Heat-of-passion manslaughter cases often involve a spurned lover killing their partner or a third party in an extramarital affair with their partner. If a defendant committed manslaughter, they had no preconceived intention of killing the victim.
Manslaughter is a Class B felony in Alabama, which can carry a sentence of up to $30,000 and between two and 20 years of imprisonment. If a firearm was involved, the imprisonment term cannot be less than 10 years.
An arrest and conviction can change everything. Fines or time in jail are the immediate concern, but a conviction will also mean a criminal record that can make it harder to find a job and housing for years to come. If you are arrested or learn you are under investigation, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and help you determine the best way to proceed with mounting a defense.