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  • Arrest Made (accused brought to county jail)
  • Probable cause of involvement in commission of crime
  • Criminal Complaint Filed
  • Arrest warrant issued
  • Summons issued in certain cases
  • Preliminary Arraignment (takes place before District Justice or Magistrate)
  • Within 72 hours of arrest
  • Accused receives written charges
  • Bond is set
  • Preliminary Hearing is scheduled
  • Preliminary Hearing
  • Not a guilt or innocence proceeding
  • To determine whether there is sufficient evidence to hold the case for trial before a judge or jury in the Circuit Court
  • May result in reduction of charges, dismissal of case, or assessment of fines
  • A motion for bond reduction may be made at this proceeding
  • Accused is presumed innocent and usually does not testify
  • Formal Arraignment (A "calendar control" or "paper" date)
  • Accused receives final charges in writing
  • Accused enters plea of guilty or not-guilty
  • Accused requests jury or non-jury trial
  • Defense Counsel must enter "Appearance" as Counsel of Record
  • Case is assigned to a judge
  • Establishes time periods for filing of Discovery, Bill of Particulars, and Pre-Trial Motions
  • Pre-Trial Conference is scheduled
  • Pre-Trial Conference (A "calendar control" or "paper" date)
  • Informs judge of how case will proceed (jury trial, non-jury trial, pre-trial motions, plea)
  • Trial or plea date is scheduled
  • Trial (Jury or Non-Jury)
  • If incarcerated, accused must be brought to trial within 180 days of filing of Criminal Complaint unless there is excludable time charged to accused
  • If on bond, accused must be brought to trial within 365 days of filing of Criminal Complaint unless there is excludable time charged to accused
  • Accused may present a defense to charges in a suppression hearing, jury or non-jury trial.
  • If acquitted on all charges the case concludes
  • If accused is convicted of all or any charge by entry or plea or guilty verdict by judge or jury the case proceeds to sentencing stage
  • Sentencing
  • Upon conviction, and depending upon the severity of the crime(s), the case may proceed immediately to sentencing or a Pre-Sentence Investigation is ordered to assist the judge in imposing sentence.
  • Depending upon the crime(s) involved, sentencing may involve total confinement in a state or county facility, alternative housing, home detention, probation, payment of fines and restitution.
  • Post-Sentence Motions must be filed (if at all) in writing and within 10 days
  • An appeal may be filed (if at all) in writing within 30 days of the denial of Post-Sentence Motions or, if no Post-Sentence Motions are filed, within 30 days of sentencing.




In the state of Alabama there are three felony classes:
Class A, Class B, and Class C.

Class A
These are the highest felon convictions received in the state of Alabama. With this conviction, the sentence received can be no less than 10 years and no more than life or ninety-nine years. If a deadly weapon is used, more specifically a firearm was used in this crime, the conviction will be twenty years minimum. Sentences are defined by court as either indefinite (life with or without the possibility of parole) or definite (a specific number of years). In Alabama, imprisonment includes hard labor which is defined as labor on public roads, public bridges and other public works in the county. In the event that the conviction is for capital murder, the accused will receive an immediate sentence of life. Fines are no more than $60,000.

Examples of Class A Felonies:

  1. Murder and/or Capital murder
  2. Kidnapping-1st degree
  3. Rape- 1st degree
  4. Domestic Violence- 1st degree
  5. Burglary- 1st degree
  6. Arson- 1st degree

Class A Felony Sentences and Enhancements
Persons convicted of Class A felonies face a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 99 years. If the offense is motivated by hate the minimum sentence will be enhanced to 15 years. In cases where the person used or attempted to use a firearm or deadly weapon during the crime the minimum sentence is enhanced to 20 years. If the offense involved a criminal sex offense with a child, the minimum sentenced is also enhanced to 20 years.

Class A Felony Habitual Offenders
  • If the person convicted of a Class A felony has any prior felony convictions the minimum sentence is enhanced to 15 years.
  • If the offender has any two prior felony convictions the minimum sentence enhancement is 99 years.
  • If the offender has any three prior felony convictions with none of them being a Class A felony they must be sent to prison for life, or sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The court will decide which.
  • If the offender has a prior Class A felony conviction, the court must sentence him to life without the possibility of parole.

Class A Felony Fines and Restitution
Fines are a set amount established by the court at not more than 60,000. A Class A felon will also incur a 30 percent surcharge. Restitution is ordered by the court for damages and expenses and is to be paid when the felon is released from prison, unless there is income while s/he is incarcerated.


Class B
Class B felonies carry a definite term of imprisonment. With this conviction, the sentence received can be no less than two years and no more than twenty years.   If a firearm or other deadly weapon is used in the crime the sentence is a minimum of ten years. The fines associated with this conviction are no more than $10,000.

Examples of Class B Felonies:

  1. Manslaughter-1st degree
  2. Assault- 1st degree
  3. Kidnapping-2nd degree
  4. Rape-2nd degree
  5. Sexual crimes
  6. Burglary-2nd degree
  7. Robbery
  8. Arson- 2nd degree
  9. Theft of property-1st degree
  10. Theft of services-1st degree
  11. Receiving stolen merchandise-1st degree


Class B Felony Enhancements
  • If a person uses a or attempts to use a firearm or deadly weapon during the commission of a Class B felony, the minimum sentence is automatically enhanced to 10 years.
  • If the crime involves a criminal sex offense involving a child, the minimum sentence is enhanced to 10 years.
  • If the crime is a hate crime (a crime motivated by race, color, religion, or disability), the minimum sentence is enhanced to 10 years.
The minimum and maximum sentence can be enhanced for any crime of a violent nature (aggravating circumstances) and reduced for mitigating circumstances.

Class B Felony Penalties and Habitual Offenders
  • If a person has one prior felony conviction and commits a Class B felony, the punishment will be the same as a Class A felony (10 years to life imprisonment).
  • If a person has two prior felony conviction and commits a Class B felony, they will be sent to prison for and indeterminate amount of time such as life, up to 99 years, with a minimum sentence of not less than 15 years.
  • If a person has has three prior felony convictions and commits a Class B felony, the punishment will be life, with a minimum of not less than 20 years.

Class B Fines, Restitution and Surcharges
Any person convicted of a Class B felony can be sentenced to pay a fine of up to $30,000, as well as restitution that covers damages and expenses and will have to pay a 30% surcharge to the court.
 

Class C
With this conviction, the sentence is no less than year and a day and no more than twenty years. If firearm or other deadly weapon is used the minimum sentence is ten years. Fines are no more than $5000.

Examples of Class C Felonies:

  1. Criminally negligent homicide
  2. Custody Interference
  3. Criminal Tampering- 1st degree
  4. Receiving stolen merchandise- 2nd degree
  5. Theft of Property

Class C Felony Enhancements
  • If a firearm or deadly weapon was used during the commission of the crime, then the minimum sentence is enhanced to not less than 10 years
  • If the crime involves a criminal sex act with a child, the minimum sentence is also enhanced to 10 years
  • If the crime is defined as a hate crime motivated by the victims race, color, religion or disability, the minimum sentence is enhanced to two years.

The minimum and maximum sentences for Class C felonies can be enhanced for any crime of a violent nature or one with aggravated circumstances, and reduced for mitigating circumstances.

Class C Felony Penalties for Habitual Offenders
  • If a person has one prior felony conviction and commits a Class C felony, the punishment will be the same as a Class B felony (2 to 20 years hard labor).
  • If a person has two prior felony conviction and commits a Class C felony, they will be sentenced to the standard Class A felony term of life, or not more than 99 years, and not less than 10 years hard labor.
  • If a person has has three prior felony convictions and commits a Class C felony, the punishment will be life up to 99 years and not less than 15 years hard labor.

Good Behavior
Those convicted of Class A felonies cannot get time off for good behavior.

With Class B and C felonies the accused can earn time off for good behavior for sentences of up to fifteen years. Which means inmates will serve one third of their sentence.

With Class B and C felonies, the convicted individual must have all three Parole Board members to agree in and sign parole documents, and inmate can be released at any time. However, if the convicted individual has served one third of their sentence already they will only be required to get two Board member signatures.







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