Alabama Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences

Learn which crimes are considered misdemeanors in Alabama, the possible sentences for each class of misdemeanor, and alternatives to jail sentences.

By , Legal Editor
Updated by Rebecca Pirius, Attorney · Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Updated June 22, 2023

In Alabama, as in most states, a crime is treated as a misdemeanor if it could carry a sentence of a year or less in county jail. More serious crimes (felonies) are punishable by more than a year in state prison. Offenses that are less serious than misdemeanors (known as violations in Alabama) may be punished by up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine.

How Alabama Classifies and Punishes Misdemeanors

Alabama categorizes misdemeanors into three different classes. From the most to least serious, these include Class A, B, and C misdemeanors. Each misdemeanor class carries a maximum jail sentence and fine.

Class A Misdemeanor Crimes and Penalties

Class A misdemeanor can be punished by up to one year in jail and a $6,000 fine. Examples of class A misdemeanors include:

  • fourth-degree theft of property or services
  • third-degree domestic violence or violation of a domestic violence protection order
  • third-degree assault or assault with bodily fluids (including saliva)
  • cruel treatment of a dog or cat, and
  • dog fighting or breeding fighting dogs.

(Ala. Code §§ 13A-6-22, 13A-6-132, 13A-6-142, 13A-6-242, 13A-8-5, 13A-8-10.3, 13A-11-241, 13A-12-6 (2023).)

Class B Misdemeanor Crimes and Penalties

The maximum sentence for a class B misdemeanor is six months of jail time and a $3,000 fine. Examples of class B misdemeanors include:

  • second-degree stalking
  • resisting arrest
  • menacing someone, and
  • theft of cable TV service.

(Ala. Code §§ 13A-6-23, 13A-6-90.1, 13A-8-121, 13A-10-41 (2023).)

Class C Misdemeanor Crimes and Penalties

A person convicted of a class C misdemeanor faces up to three months of jail time and a $500 fine. Examples of class C misdemeanors include:

(Ala. Code §§ 13A-7-3, 13A-11-7, 13A-11-8, 13A-12-130 (2023).)

Misdemeanor Fines in Alabama

Instead of the maximum fine listed for each misdemeanor class, the judge may order you to pay up to double the value of what you gained from the crime or what the victim lost.

(Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-2, 13A-5-7, 13A-5-12 (2023).)

Enhanced Misdemeanor Penalties in Alabama

A person convicted of a misdemeanor may face harsher penalties if any of the following circumstances apply.

Misdemeanor Hate Crimes

Alabama law provides that any misdemeanor that's motivated by the victim's ethnicity, religion, national origin, or disability must be sentenced as a class A misdemeanor. The judge must also impose a minimum sentence of three months' incarceration. (Ala. Code § 13A-5-13 (2023).)

Repeat Misdemeanors Enhanced to Felonies

Several misdemeanor crimes can be enhanced to a felony-level offense if the defendant has one or more prior convictions for the same offense. For instance, a second conviction for sexual abuse increases a class A misdemeanor penalty to a class C felony. The same felony penalty applies to a third or subsequent conviction of domestic violence or indecent exposure.

(Ala. Code §§ 13A-6-67 13A-6-68 13A-6-132 (2023).)

How Misdemeanor Sentencing Works in Alabama

When you're convicted of a misdemeanor in Alabama, the judge may sentence you to spend time in county jail or suspend part of your sentence and place you on probation with conditions.

Alternatives to Jail Sentences in AL

As an alternative, you might also be considered for punishment in a community corrections program, as long as you haven't shown a pattern of violent behavior in the past. Community punishment terms may include work release, day reporting, home detention, community service, education and intervention programs, and substance abuse programs.

Pretrial Interventions in AL

Some district attorney offices offer pretrial intervention programs. In this program, the district attorney and offender enter into an agreement. The agreement might require the offender, for example, to refrain from using drugs or alcohol, attend counseling, maintain employment or schooling, pay restitution to victims, and refrain from possessing a firearm. Exact conditions depend on the offense and offender. Successful completion of the program can avoid court and a conviction.

(Ala. Code §§ 12-17-226.10, 15-18-8, 15-8-175 (2023).)

Getting Legal Help

Even though misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, a conviction for a misdemeanor could still create a lot of problems in your life. If you have to spend any time in jail, for example, you could potentially lose your job or housing. You should always consult an experienced Alabama criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with a crime, have been approached by the police as a target of an investigation, or need legal advice.

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