Two men have been arrested on charges of stealing copper from the Oak Grove and Adger communities of Jefferson County, The Birmingham News reports.

As the Alabama DUI & Criminal Defense Law Blog recently reported, a copper thief hit some AT&T lines, interrupting phone service for hours near Princeton Baptist Medical Center.

Because metals are increasing in value, many people have resorted to trying to steal them. But an arrest offers no proof, it is only the law enforcement officer’s opinion of who committed the crime. And the standard of proof for an arrest is only reasonable cause, a very low standard. Proof beyond all reasonable doubt is what is necessary for a person to be convicted of theft in Birmingham.

Handling these types of cases alone is a bad option. Hiring an experienced and aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney in Birmingham will ensure the defendant receives sound legal advice about their case.

In this case, a 32-year-old and 33-year-old were arrested and charged with stealing copper cable from mines. One of the men is from Quinton and the other from Dora.

According to the news report, during an August 8 attempted robbery, one of the men allegedly triggered an alarm, which caused a security guard to call authorities. The guard was able to provide enough information for deputies to identify the men, sheriff’s deputies told the newspaper. Surveillance cameras and information from the witness led to the arrests.

One of the men is charged with attempted theft, burglary, theft of property and receiving stolen property. The other faces charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, attempted theft of property, resisting arrest, burglary and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Although stealing copper may seem to be a non-dangerous crime, authorities say that it can be frustrating to customers of phone companies, and a threat to miners. If copper wiring is stolen in mines, it can cut off ventilation systems and other safety measures for people working in the mines.

In Alabama, the penalties for theft range based on the value of the property stolen. A third-degree charge means stealing less than $500, second-degree theft is stealing between $500 and $2,500 in property and a first-degree charge means stealing more than $2,500 in property or a vehicle. The penalties can range from months in jail to years in prison, depending on the value.

And another point to make is that in theft charges in Birmingham, authorities can seek to seize assets or seek restitution if they can show a victim lost a certain amount of money or value during the crime. That means a person can be convicted, serve time in prison, get out and have to start making payments while they’re trying to get a job and get back on their feet.

Obviously, it’s tough to find a job at all right now, so trying to find a job after being a convicted felon can be almost impossible. Add to that having to make restitution payments or losing your house or vehicles to forfeiture proceedings and the consequences can pile up. That’s why an aggressive defense is necessary when dealing with the charges in the first place.

More Blog Entries:

Copper Thief Strikes AT&T Lines, Interrupt Phone Service in Birmingham: August 15, 2011

Additional Resources:

Jefferson County deputies arrest 2 on copper theft charges, by Carol Robinson, The Birmingham News