Category Archives: Criminal Defense

Alabama Burglaries

broken window alabama burglary defense attorneyThe Alabama Criminal Code defines burglary as the unlawful entering or the unlawful remaining on property combined with the intent to commit a crime. In Alabama, these charges are classified as either first, second, or third degree burglary. Each classification has its own specific punishment and each requires its own specific elements of the crime.

First Degree Burglary

First degree burglary is the most serious burglary crime in Alabama. The Criminal Codes states:

“a) A person commits the crime of burglary in the first degree if he or she knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a crime therein, and, if, in effecting entry or while in dwelling or in immediate flight therefrom, the person or another participant in the crime:

(1) Is armed with explosives;  or

(2) Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime;  or… Read More

Drug Distribution

photo of a pill bottle labeled controlled substances

There is a debate within American society as to whether the use of controlled substances such as drugs should be banned. Some claim that drug crimes are victimless crimes and not much different than alcohol; others cite their effects, both short and long term, as reason to ban them. Regardless, under both Alabama state law and federal law, illegal drug distribution and use are illegal, and the penalties for violating anti-drug statutes are harsh.

Statistics reveal that law enforcement, particularly drug enforcement, focuses on those who distribute drugs. It seems that law enforcement does not look to enforce the law against end users. They seek to enforce the law against distributors, manufacturers, and those involved in transporting the drugs.

Alabama Law

The Alabama statute criminalizing drug distribution makes it unlawful for a person to sell, furnish, give away, deliver, or distribute a controlled substance. A controlled substance is defined in … Read More

Carrying a Firearm

man with a concealed weapon

The third amendment to the Alabama State Constitution, passed in 2014, states that the Constitution “provide[s] that every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms and that any restriction on this right would be subject to strict scrutiny.” In theory, this amendment provides every Alabama citizen the right to open carry of a firearm, even if the person carrying the firearm does not have a permit. There are restrictions, however, as certain individuals may not carry a gun and certain circumstances prohibit individuals from carrying guns.

Individuals Banned from Carrying Guns

The Alabama Code provides that the following may not carry a gun:

  • People who were convicted of committing or attempting to commit a violent crime;
  • Drug addicts or “habitual drunkards;” or
  • Anyone who intends to do bodily harm on the premises of a public school.

Note that school security personnel are exempt from this ban if acting to … Read More

Statutory Rape

photo of man in handcuffs“But I thought that she was 16!”

Often, when someone is accused of statutory rape in Alabama, these are the first words uttered. While the accused may have reasonably and properly thought that the other person was at least 16 years old, the accused can still be liable for statutory rape.

Statutory Rape Defined

Under Alabama law, statutory rape is when someone who has reached the age of consent, which is someone 16 years old or older, has sex with someone under the age of 16. The law is premised on the idea that someone below the age of sixteen lacks capacity to consent to sex. As such, sex with that person is not consensual and is therefore rape.

Note that if the parties are legally married and reside in Alabama, then the person aged 16 or older did not commit statutory rape. Thus, a 20-year-old who has sex with … Read More

Join JeffCo DA-Elect Charles Henderson’s Fight Now

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE CHARLES HENDERSON LEGAL DEFENSE FUND donate page

Todd Henderson dedicated his life to serving his community and fellow man. A 30-year resident of Jefferson County, Mr. Henderson, also an Eagle Scout, served in law enforcement both at the state and federal level for more than a decade.

Mr. Henderson has served as a defense lawyer for the last 15 years, fighting to provide fair representation and protect ing the rights of those accused of crimes. He promoted respect for law and the Constitution for more than half of a century and he upholds service, sacrifice, and commitment to Jefferson County. Recently, the people of Jefferson County elected Mr. Henderson to serve as their District Attorney. Mr. Henderson is the first Democrat elected to that office in over 30 years.

Under Alabama law, an indictment prevents one from carrying out the duties of the position of the … Read More

Alabama’s Stand Your Ground Law

photo of hand holding a gun

In recent years, especially in light of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, there has been much discussion about the “stand your ground” law. A stand your ground law removes the duty to retreat before acting in self-defense. Alabama adopted this rule, thereby eliminating the duty to retreat under certain circumstances.

Castle Doctrine

In 2006, Alabama adopted the “Castle Doctrine,” which allows citizens to defend themselves and others if they are threatened in their home or place of work. In such an instance, a person may use deadly force, provided the person feels that danger is immediate and it is necessary for self-defense. There is no duty to retreat.

Specifically, the Alabama Criminal Code states: “A person who is justified under subsection (a) in using physical force, including deadly physical force, and who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and is in any place where he or she has … Read More

The Numbers – Looking at Birmingham Crime Statistics

birmingham crime statistics photoA  harrowing FBI report in 2015 painted Birmingham as a high crime city. In terms of numbers,  Birmingham has long ranked near the top of nationwide crime rankings. In fact, it notched the 5th spot in violent crime, property crime and overall crime among large cities in the latest batch of crime statistics released by the FBI.

Birmingham’s homicide rate ranked 7th among cities with populations of more than 100,000. In 2014, there were 59 homicides out of a population of 212,115. In 2012 it saw 66, 72 in 2012, 57 in 2011, 62 in 2010, 71 in 2009, 88 in 2008, 93 in 2007, 109 in 2006 and 105 in 2005.

With the high crime rate comes increased police scrutiny and overzealous prosecutions. Law enforcement typically uses these tactics to squash an increasing crime rate. Therefore, if you are accused of murder or another violent crime in Birmingham, understand … Read More

alabama death penalty laws

Alabama Death Penalty Sentencing in Jeopardy

On January 12, 2016, the United States Supreme Court in the case of Hurst v. Florida ruled that Florida’s existing death penalty sentencing structure is unconstitutional. The reason for this ruling is Florida allows judges to override a jury’s determination of the appropriate sentence in a capital murder case. In other words, even if a jury recommends a sentence of life without parole, Florida allows their judges to override that recommendation and sentence a defendant to the death penalty.

In the opinion, drafted by Justice Sotomayor, she states: “The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death. A jury’s mere recommendation is not enough.

Alabama’s capital sentencing structure, like Florida’s, gives Circuit Judges in a capital murder trial the power to sentence a defendant to death, even if the jury recommends life without parole. Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s … Read More

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Infographic: The Advantages of Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Hindsight is 20/20. Few adages are more true, and prisons are filled with men who learned this lesson the hard way. If you are charged with a crime, any attorney won’t do. You need the best possible attorney, one with extensive experience and a high success rate with cases like yours. Most people will never be charged with a crime or have reason to hire a defense attorney. However, America does have the highest incarceration rate in the world. The NAACP reports that of American males aged 18 and up: 1 of every Caucasians, 1 of every 36 Hispanics, and 1 of every 15 African Americans is incarcerated. Many of those people never saw it coming.

Why Should You Hire a Criminal Attorney?

The primary reason you should hire a criminal attorney is because your freedom and your future are at stake. Consider it this way: If you had a … Read More

Operation T-Bone: Alabama’s Crackdown on Food Stamps Fraud

Teams of Alabama law enforcement officials this morning executed 242 search warrants and made 17 arrests as part of “Operation T-Bone,” an extensive, multi-agency crackdown on food stamps fraud. Investigators filed for forfeiture and condemnation of 11 stores alleged to be involved in the fraud, totaling over $1 million in assets. The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office launched the investigation back in February, and now claim to have proof that the individuals arrested bilked the taxpayer-funded food stamps system for hundreds of thousands of dollars. They also uncovered evidence that some of the ill-gotten gains were wired to Yemen.

Over 900,000 Alabama citizens get government assistance through EBT cards each year. These cards can be used to purchase food and non-alcoholic drinks through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Investigators allege that the business owners arrested would purchase these EBT cards from welfare enrollees for $0.50 on the dollar, and … Read More