Alabama Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences (2023)

Learn about the different classes of felonies in Alabama, the typical range of sentences for each felony class, and circumstances that call for stiffer penalties.

Alabama divides criminal offenses into three categories: felonies, misdemeanors, and violations. Felonies are crimes that potentially carry a sentence of more than a year in state prison or death.

There are four different classes of felonies, from the most serious (Class A) to the least serious (Class D). The laws describing each particular crime specify the category and class for that offense.

Statutory Prison Sentences in Alabama for Felonies

Alabama law sets out a standard range of prison sentences that judges may impose for each class of felony. If you're convicted of (or plead guilty to) a felony, the sentence you receive will depend on the classification of the crime, as well as the circumstances and other factors such as your previous criminal history.

Class A Felonies: Sentences and Examples

In general, Class A felonies are punishable by life in prison or a definite term of 10 to 99 years. Anyone convicted of murder with aggravated circumstances who was an adult at the time of the crime must be sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole.

Some examples of Class A felonies in Alabama:

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  • first-degree rape, which includes sex by force, with an incapacitated victim, or a child under age 12
  • first-degree domestic violence
  • first-degree kidnapping, which includes abducting a victim for ransom, as a hostage, or for sexual abuse; and
  • first-degree burglary.

(Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-6, 13A-6-43, 13A-6-61, 13A-6-130, 13A-7-5 (2020).)

Class B Felonies: Sentences and Examples

Alabama's standard sentence range for a Class B felony is two to 20 years imprisonment. Some examples of Class B felonies:

  • first-degree manslaughter
  • first-degree assault
  • auto theft, and
  • second-degree rape (often called statutory rape), which Alabama defines as sex with a minor aged 12 to 15 by a defendant who is at least 16 and two years older than the victim.

(Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-6, 13A-6-3, 13A-6-20, 13A-6-62, 13A-8-3 (2020).)

Class C Felonies: Sentences and Examples

The standard sentence for a Class C felony in Alabama is a term between 366 days and 10 years. Class C felonies include:

  • first-degree stalking (with the intent to put the victim in reasonable fear of serious injury)
  • third-degree robbery (with actual or threatened force)
  • interference with custody by taking a child from the parent with legal custody
  • breaking and entering a vehicle, and
  • looting.

(Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-6, 13A-6-90, 13A-8-43, 13A-6-45, 13A-7-80, 13A-8-11 (2012).)

Class D Felonies: Sentences and Examples

A Class D felony carries a standard sentence of 366 days to five years. Examples include:

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  • theft of property worth more than $500 but less than $1,500
  • fraudulent or unauthorized use of a credit or debit card, and
  • possession of a controlled substance (illegal drug) for personal use.

(Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-6, 13A-8-4.1, 13A-9-14, 13A-12-212 (2020).)

Split Sentences and Prison Alternatives for Felonies

For some felonies, you might receive a split sentence—meaning that you'll spend part of the time in confinement and the rest of the time on probation. If you've been sentenced to 20 years or less for a Class A or B felony (other than a sex offense with a child), the judge may order a split sentence. However, you must receive a split sentence if you've been convicted of a Class C or D felony, unless:

  • you've already been sentenced to drug court, probation only, or a pretrial diversion program
  • you've been convicted of a sex offense; or
  • you have a previous conviction of a Class A, B, or C felony.

The period of confinement for a split sentence may be in prison, a jail-type alternative, or a treatment facility. Class C felons may also be confined in a community corrections program, while Class D felons must be sent to this type of jail alternative. (Ala. Code § 15-8-8 (2020).)

Minimum Sentences for Felonies with a Gun, Child Sexual Offenses, and Hate Crimes

Within the standard range of prison sentences for the different classes of felonies, Alabama also requires a minimum sentence under certain circumstances. If you used or tried to use a gun or other deadly weapon while you committed the crime, the minimum is 20 years for a Class A felony and 10 years for a Class B or C felony.

The same minimums also apply for Class A or B felony sex offenses involving a child, except that certain serious sex offenses by adults (21 or over) against very young victims (six or younger) require a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

If you're convicted of a crime that was motivated by the victim's actual or perceived ethnicity, national origin, religion, or disability, Alabama requires the following minimum sentences:

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  • 15 years for a Class A felony
  • 10 years for a Class B felony
  • two years for a Class C felony, and
  • 18 months for a Class D felony.

(Ala. Code § 13A-5-6, 13A-5-13 (2020).)

Stiffer Sentences for Habitual Offenders

Defendants with previous felony convictions will face longer sentences for subsequent felonies. The length of the enhanced penalties depend on the class of the current felony, the number of prior felony convictions, and sometimes the class of those prior convictions.

One Prior Felony Conviction

If you have one prior conviction for a Class A, B, or C felony, your sentence for a current Class B or C felony will bump up to the next class. If your current conviction is for a Class A felony, the minimum sentence is increased to 15 years. (Ala. Code § 13A-5-9(a) (2020).)

Two Prior Felony Convictions

If you have two prior convictions for Class A, B, or C felonies, your sentence will be increased for a current felony in any of those classes as follows:

  • Class A felony: life or a term of at least 99 years.
  • Class B felony: life or a term of at least 15 years.
  • Class C felony: life or a term of at least 10 years.
  • Class D felony: a term between 366 days and 10 years.

(Ala. Code § 13A-5-9(b), (d) (2020).)

Three Prior Felony Convictions

Three prior convictions felony convictions increase the sentence for a current felony as follows:

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  • Class A: life without the possibility of parole if one of the prior convictions was also for a Class A felony; life or life without parole if the prior convictions were Class B or C felonies.
  • Class B: life or a term of at least 20 years when the previous convictions were for Class A, B, or C felonies.
  • Class C: life or a term of at least 15 years when the priors were for Class A, B, or C felonies.
  • Class D: a term between 366 days and 10 years, regardless of the class of prior felonies.

(Ala. Code § 13A-5-9(c), (e) (2020).)

Fines for Felonies in Alabama

In addition to a sentence of imprisonment for a felony, the judge may order you to pay a fine up to the following maximum amounts (unless a specific crime calls for a higher fine):

  • Class A felony: $60,000
  • Class B felony: $30,000
  • Class C felony: $15,000
  • Class D felony: $7,500.

In the alternative, the fine could be based on how much money or property you gained from the crime or how much the victim lost, up to twice that amount. (Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-2, 13A-5-11 (2020).)

When Can Prosecutors Charge You With a Felony in Alabama?

All states, including Alabama, have laws (known as criminal "statutes of limitations") that set a time limit on when prosecutors can charge someone with certain crimes. The "clock" starts running when the alleged crime happened. In Alabama, the general statute of limitations for felonies is five years. However, there are many exceptions to the five-year limit, including no time limit at all for prosecuting a number of serious crimes—including any felonies involving actual or threatened violence to the victim, arson, forgery, and drug trafficking. For details, see our article on the criminal statutes of limitations in Alabama.

Getting Help With Criminal Charges

A felony conviction could result in serious, long-term consequences. If you're facing felony charges in Alabama, you should speak with a local criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system, Alabama law, and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or in plea bargaining. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, help you make decisions about your case, and protect your rights throughout the criminal proceedings.

Look Out for Legal Changes

States can change their laws at any time. You can check the current version of any statute mentioned in this article by clicking on the link to the Code of Alabama on the Library of Congress Guide to Law Online. However, you should know that court opinions can affect how judges interpret and apply the law, which is another good reason to speak with an attorney if you're concerned about actual or potential criminal charges.

(Video) What is a Class D Felony


What is the minimum sentence for a Class A felony in Alabama? ›

The firmest felony convictions fall into Class A Felonies. In the State of Alabama, these convictions will carry a sentence of no less than ten years and no more than life / 90 years in jail. If a deadly weapon is involved, the minimum sentence immediately jumps up to twenty years in prison.

What are the felony classes in Alabama? ›

The state of Alabama divides felonies into three separate categories: Class A, Class B, and Class C felonies. Class A felonies contain the offenses that result in the most substantial crimes, while Class B and Class C felonies result in less substantial penalties.

How much of a sentence has to be served in Alabama? ›

If you are serving a split sentence, you must serve the mandatory time of the split sentence. For example, if your judge sentenced you to “20 years, split 5” you must serve the entire five years in prison. During those five years, you will not be eligible for parole.

What is the sentence of a Class A offense? ›

Class “A” felonies are the most serious offenses under Iowa law and are punishable only by a mandatory life sentence, without possibility for parole or probation.

Can you get probation for a felony in Alabama? ›

Probation terms

In Alabama, you can face up to two years probation for a misdemeanor and up to five years probation for a felony. Your initial sentence can be shortened or lengthened under certain conditions, but the probation sentence cannot exceed these limits for a single offense.

What is the least punishment for a felony? ›

For less serious or first-time felonies, the judge can usually sentence a person to either jail time or probation, instead of prison. If the crime involves serious physical harm, like murder or aggravated assault, a convicted felon will likely face a lengthy prison sentence.

What would be a Class A felony? ›

Class A felonies are the most serious and include murder, while Class I felonies, such as larceny of a dog, credit card fraud, and domestic violence, are the least serious. The prison sentencing range is as follows: Class A: Life without parole or death. Class B1: 144 months in prison to life without parole.

Does a felony ever go away in Alabama? ›

Expungement may be sought 90 days after charges dismissed with prejudice, and after an additional waiting period after dismissal without prejudice (two years for misdemeanors, reduced to one year in 2021, and five years for felonies) “if the person has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor crime, any ...

Do felonies go away in Alabama? ›

Now, as never before, State Law in Alabama allows for the expungement of certain misdemeanor and felony convictions. Of course, there are exceptions and rules that must be applied to each individual case to determine eligibility under the new Alabama Expungement Laws.

How long do you serve on a 5 year sentence in Alabama? ›

Sentence Length of 5-10 Years: You are eligible for parole 18 Months before your earliest release date. Sentence Length of 10-15 Years: You are eligible for parole 30 Months before your earliest release date.

Does Alabama have mandatory minimum sentences? ›

Alabama imposes mandatory minimum sentences on Class A, B, and C felony cases where a firearm or other deadly weapon is used.

Can you get good time on a split sentence in Alabama? ›

In addition, a defendant who receives a split sentence is not eligible to receive Correctional Incentive Time (“good time”). Where there are sentence enhancements, the sentencing judge may suspend the additional time imposed by the sentencing enhancement.

What is the most common sentence given to offenders? ›

A prison sentence (a prison-only sentence or a prison plus confinement condition sentence) is the most common punishment imposed on offenders sentenced in federal courts.

What are the classes of sentence? ›

There are four types of sentences in the English language: declarative, exclamatory, imperative, and interrogatory. Each sentence type serves a different purpose. Understanding the different sentence types and how to use them will help improve your writing skills.

Can you get probation for a Class D felony in Alabama? ›

Generally if a person is convicted of a Class D felony there will be some form of probation supervised by a Community Corrections agency, with some form of drug and alcohol testing and classes.

What is the sentencing for a Class C felony in Alabama? ›

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.

What is the split sentence act in Alabama? ›

Split sentence: A sentence in which the convicted serves only a portion of the sentence incarcerated and is placed on probation with the remainder of the sentence suspended; the judge keeps jurisdiction over the convicted and 1 of 4 AR 428-January 3, 2023 Page 2 IV.

What is the most popular felony? ›

The 4 Most Common Types of Felony Offenses
  • #1: Drug Crimes. Although there have been recent changes in state laws, including Arizona, that now make some drug crimes misdemeanors, many drug crimes can lead to felony charges. ...
  • #2: Violent Crimes. ...
  • #3: Theft. ...
  • #4: Sex Crimes.
Jan 10, 2022

Which felony is the most serious? ›

The most serious felonies, such as first-degree murder, are a capital crime where the defendant could receive life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

What are the 5 types of pleas? ›

Types of Pleas
  • Innocent Until Proven Guilty. All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty. ...
  • Plea of Not Guilty. A plea of not guilty means you are informing the Court that you deny guilt or that you have a good defense in your case. ...
  • Plea of Guilty. ...
  • Plea of Nolo Contendere (No Contest)

What are felonies examples? ›

A felony is a crime that is punishable by imprisonment for longer than one year. Common felonies include: Murder. Robbery.

How do you use felony in a sentence? ›

He received a felony conviction. = He was convicted of committing a felony. He was convicted of felony murder/theft.

What are the elements of a felony? ›

Felonies are committed not only by means of deceit (dolo) but also by means of fault (culpa). There is deceit when the act is performed with deliberate intent; and there is fault when the wrongful act results from imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight, or lack of skill.

How long does a felony show up on a background check in Alabama? ›

Under the FCRA, there is a seven-year restriction on the length of time a background check for employment can go for positions that pay under $75,000 per year. The following information will not be reported when it is more than seven years old: Arrests that did not lead to convictions. Civil lawsuits.

Can a felon have a gun at home in Alabama? ›

If you have been convicted of a felony in Alabama, you are not legally allowed to own or possess a firearm.

Can a felon live in a house with guns in Alabama? ›

As a convicted felon you cannot own or possess a firearm. Even though the firearms may not be yours, if you are residing in the household with those firearms then arguably you are possessing them.

How much does it cost to expunge a felony in Alabama? ›

The Cost of Expungement

You will incur some expenses when seeking an expungement in Alabama. There is an administrative filing fee of $300, plus approximately $300 in court costs, a certified records fee of $100 as well as your attorney's fee.

What are the punishment ranges for felonies in Alabama? ›

Class A felony: life or a term of at least 99 years. Class B felony: life or a term of at least 15 years. Class C felony: life or a term of at least 10 years. Class D felony: a term between 366 days and 10 years.

What felonies can be expunged in Alabama? ›

A person who has been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense, a traffic violation, a municipal ordinance violation or a nonviolent felony offense (i.e., not murder, rape, kidnapping, assault, robbery, burglary, or other offenses identified in the Alabama code) may petition for records relating to the charge to be ...

How is good time calculated in Alabama? ›

The reason is Alabama's law granting time off for good behavior. Those rules allow for some inmates to shave 75 days from their prison terms for every 30 days they serve.

What is the good time law in Alabama? ›

This law lays out how inmates accrue “good time” behavior incentives to reduce their time in prison. If passed by Alabama lawmakers during the 2023 legislative session, it would put tighter limits on how much "good time" inmates can get, thus making it harder for them to have their sentences shortened.

How many days equal a month in jail? ›

Under G.S. 12-3(12), the words “'imprisonment for one month,' wherever used in any of the statutes, shall be construed to mean 'imprisonment for thirty days.

What are the mandatory minimum sentences examples? ›

As an example of a mandatory minimum sentence, under federal law, selling 28 grams of crack cocaine triggers a minimum sentence of five years in prison. And if you're caught selling 280 grams of crack, you'll face a minimum of 10 years behind bars even if the judge does not think you need such a long sentence.

What is the minimum A sentence should contain? ›

Answer: It must have a subject and a predicate. An example of a simple, complete sentence is “She sleeps.” She is the subject; sleeps is the predicate. In this instance, the complete predicate is the verb sleeps.

Is there a way around mandatory minimum sentences? ›

A mandatory minimum sentence can only be waived by the prosecution in the case. What this means is simple: a judge has absolutely not authority under the law to sentence you to less than the mandatory minimum without the consent of the prosecution.

How do judges decide sentence length? ›

A judge must impose a sentence that is sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to: reflect the seriousness of the offense; promote respect for the law; provide just punishment for the offense; adequately deter criminal conduct; protect the public from further crimes by the defendant; and provide the defendant with ...

What is 1st violation of felony probation in Alabama? ›

The first of probation violation depends upon a probationer either having committed (or charged) a new felony crime or having just run away from probation. Either of these can appear in the charging of the original sentence. Whether this occurs depends on plenty of factors.

Which sentence session court can pass? ›

(1) A High Court may pass any sentence authorised by law. (2) A Sessions Judge or Additional Sessions Judge may pass any sentence authorised by law; but any sentence of death passed by any such Judge shall be subject to confirmation by the High Court.

How is a sentence decided? ›

The sentence will be influenced by a number of factors; principally: the circumstances of the case. the impact that the crime has had on the victim, and. relevant law – especially guideline cases from the Court of Appeal.

What are the 4 main types of sentencing? ›

Types of sentences include probation, fines, short-term incarceration, suspended sentences, which only take effect if the convict fails to meet certain conditions, payment of restitution to the victim, community service, or drug and alcohol rehabilitation for minor crimes.

What crimes are Category A? ›

The offences that may result in consideration for Category A include:
  • Murder.
  • Attempted murder.
  • Manslaughter.
  • Wounding with intent.
  • Rape.
  • Indecent assault.
  • Robbery or conspiracy to rob (with firearms)
  • Firearms offences.

What crimes get you the most jail time? ›

Violent crimes – Violent crimes, such as domestic violence, rape, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, or assault carry severe penalties. A person accused of a violent crime may be facing many years behind bars—maybe life.

What is the shortest jail sentence you can get? ›

the shortest official jail sentence ever imposed was one minute? Joseph Munch (1874-1907), a soldier who had become extremely disorderly while drunk off duty in Seattle in August of 1905, was brought before a municipal court judge on the charge.

How much time do you serve on a 20 year sentence in Alabama? ›

For example, if your judge sentenced you to “20 years, split 5” you must serve the entire five years in prison. During those five years, you will not be eligible for parole. After five years, you will be released on probation for the remainder of your sentence.

How do you identify a class in a sentence? ›

We use a combination of three criteria for determining the word class of a word:
  1. The meaning of the word.
  2. The form or `shape' of the word.
  3. The position or `environment' of the word in a sentence.

What is sentence for Class 2? ›

A sentence is a group of words that make complete sense or meaning. A sentence always begins with a capital letter. The words of a sentence are positioned in a proper sequence. A sentence must have a verb.

What is class 3 sentence? ›

A sentence is a group of words that makes sense. Letters form words and words make sentences. A sentence always begins with a capital letter and mostly ends with a full stop. A sentence always has two parts- Naming and Doing parts.

What felonies Cannot be expunged in Alabama? ›

With the exception of cases where the person was found Not Guilty after a trial, the Alabama expungement law does not allow expungement of felony cases involving “violent felonies.” More information on what crimes are classified as “violent felony” offenses in Alabama.

Is Alabama felon friendly? ›

Alabama is a state that throws the book at felons– even after their sentence has been served. Alabama is one of two states to restrict felons from voting post-sentence. This is paired with no ban-the-box laws or background exclusions that fit job seeking felons hard.

What is a Rule 32 felony in Alabama? ›

A petition that challenges multiple judgments entered in more than a single trial or guilty-plea proceeding shall be dismissed without prejudice.

What is the most common felony? ›

The 4 Most Common Types of Felony Offenses
  • #1: Drug Crimes. Although there have been recent changes in state laws, including Arizona, that now make some drug crimes misdemeanors, many drug crimes can lead to felony charges. ...
  • #2: Violent Crimes. ...
  • #3: Theft. ...
  • #4: Sex Crimes.
Jan 10, 2022


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