Criminal Law in Alabama
If you are facing any type of criminal charge in Alabama, immediately talk to a criminal defense attorney. The stakes are too high to move forward without professional legal representation. Your future is at stake.
To find a criminal defense lawyer, ask the bar association for referrals or simply Google, “How to find a Alabama Criminal Defense Attorney.”
In this article (which is based upon Alabama criminal law), we'll discuss:
- Alabama criminal laws;
- What you need to know about criminal defense in Alabama; and
- How to work with your Alabama criminal defense attorney.
Alabama Criminal Laws
Criminal law seeks to protect individuals and the general public from perceived harm and to keep order in society.
- Alabama criminal laws are found in the Alabama Criminal Code - Title 13A.
- There are many crimes listed in the Alabama Criminal Code, including bribery, child abuse, public intoxication, rape, assault, incest, indecent exposure, prostitution, disorderly conduct, child pornography, forgery, identity theft, stalking, manslaughter, and murder.
Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred. However, for more serious crimes, Alabama's statutes of limitation are unlimited.
For example, in Alabama, the statute of limitations for:
- Robbery is unlimited. (Ala. Code §15-3-5).
- Theft is 3 years. (Ala. Code §15-3-1).
- Assault and Battery is unlimited. (Ala. Code §15-3-5).
Sentencing guidelines limit judicial discretion in doling out punishments to avoid racism and sexism as well as to avoid punishment for taking advantage of one's Constitutional rights.
- Because of a severe overcrowding problem in Alabama prisons, new sentencing guidelines were passed by the state legislature in 2012.
- This is good news for those convicted of crimes in Alabama because, previously, the guidelines were only followed about half the time - instead longer jail sentences were handed down. Under the new law, jail sentences will likely be shorter.
Consult with a criminal defense attorney to determine what punishments apply to the crimes you or your loved one has been accused of.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense
If you are being questioned about or have been arrested for a crime in Alabama, your future is at risk.
- Call Alabama criminal defense lawyer, immediately. Most criminal defense attorneys offer a free consultation so you can get your questions answered and they can explain how they can help you - or not.
- When your lawyer asks you what happened. Answer honestly and completely.
- Your conversations with your defense attorney are confidential.
- Do not make a statement to police, other than to ask for an attorney.
How to Work with an Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer
You need to be an active partner in your own defense. Your attorney can't help you if you won't help yourself. This means that you must:
- Always heed your lawyer's advice.
- Tell your defense attorney exactly what happened. Even if the facts make you look bad.
- Respond to phone calls, emails, or letters immediately.
- Provide all requested information.
- Stay in contact with your attorney and update your attorney's office if your phone number, email, or address changes.
- Remember that it is in your best interest for your attorney to question you; perhaps even challenge you, even if it feels as though he or she is giving you a hard time.
- Remember it is in your best interest for your attorney to be polite and cooperate with witnesses, the victim, police officers, investigators, and the prosecutor.
- Be patient, honest, and follow your lawyer's directions.
Bottom Line: If you or a loved one is being questioned in connection with an Alabama crime, it's imperative that you seek legal representation immediately. A qualified Alabama criminal defense attorney is the key to a full, robust, and strategic defense, regardless of guilt or innocence.