Pepper Spray Laws – Alabama

Alabama is a state that is extremely friendly towards the possession and carry of self-defense sprays, including pepper spray. In Alabama, you may purchase any variety or size of pepper spray that you choose and carry it pretty much anywhere without prohibition.

However, you should know that Alabama classifies the misuse of pepper spray as a crime onto itself, one with a felony classification. That means that any deliberate misbehavior with or criminal misuse of self-defense spray is liable to see you facing some serious charges!

flag of Alabama

But, so long as you behave yourself and act responsibly, you won’t have any problems when it comes to purchasing, carrying and, if it comes down to it, using pepper spray in Alabama.

Read up on our summary below for more details, and make sure to check out the exact text of Alabama’s state statutes concerning the disposition and use of pepper spray and other self defense sprays near the end.

Fast Facts

  • Alabama has no prohibition on the size of self-defense sprays that can be possessed by civilians.
  • All common self-defense formulations are permissible: OC, CN, CS and various blends.
  • Criminal misuse of pepper spray is a distinct crime in Alabama, one with a felony charge! You should never employ pepper spray in Alabama unless you are sure you need to.

Overview

Self-defense sprays are only lightly regulated in Alabama, with civilians able to purchase and carry any size that they desire and also any formulation.

Natural ingredients and predominately natural ingredients-based formulas like OC are allowed as are synthetic formulations like CN and CS tear gas, as are blends of any or all of the above.

Worth mentioning is that Alabama allows the use of physical force, though not deadly force, in the protection of property against theft meaning it is far from out of the question that you might be justified in “macing” someone to protect your property against thievery.

But before you go spraying suspected shoplifters willy-nilly, you should also know that Alabama has a distinct crime on the books for criminal misuse of pepper spray.

If you use pepper spray against someone without justification, or utilize pepper spray in the furtherance of another crime, you’ll be facing a felony charge.

You should never use pepper spray without cause, but you should be doubly sure that you really need it before deploying it in Alabama!

But so long as you are responsible and don’t go looking for trouble with your pepper spray you won’t have anything to worry about in Alabama.

Conclusion

Alabama is a great state when it comes to purchasing and carrying pepper spray. Citizens may own any common formulation of self-defense spray in any size canister they desire that suits their purposes.

Make sure you only employ your pepper spray when it is genuinely required, as Alabama makes criminal misuse of pepper spray its own distinct crime with a felony charge.

Relevant State Statutes

Section 13A-1-2 – Definitions.

Unless different meanings are expressly specified in subsequent provisions of this title, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(…)

(12) PHYSICAL INJURY. Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.

Section 13A-6-22 – Assault in the third degree.

(a) A person commits the crime of assault in the third degree if:

(1) With intent to cause physical injury to another person, he causes physical injury to any person; or

(2) He recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or

(3) With criminal negligence he causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or

(4) With intent to prevent a peace officer from performing a lawful duty, he causes physical injury to any person.

(b) Assault in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor.


Section 13A-6-24 – Reckless endangerment.

(a) A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.

(b) Reckless endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor.


Section 13A-6-27 – Use of pepper spray, etc.

(a) The crime of criminal use of a defense spray is committed if the perpetrator uses a defense spray including, but not limited to pepper spray, foam and any other self-defense chemical spray against another person in the commission of a crime or against a law enforcement officer while the law enforcement officer is performing his or her official duties.

(b) Criminal use of a defense spray is a Class C felony.


Section 13A-3-21 – Basis for defense generally; injury to innocent person through negligence; civil remedies.

(a) Defense. Except as otherwise expressly provided, justification or excuse under this article is a defense.

(b) Danger to innocent persons. If a person is justified or excused in using force against a person, but he recklessly or negligently injures or creates a substantial injury to another person, the justifications afforded by this article are unavailable in a prosecution for such recklessness or negligence.

(c) Civil remedy unimpaired. Any justification or excuse within the meaning of this article does not abolish or impair any civil remedy or right of action which is otherwise available.


Section 13A-3-23 – Use of force in defense of a person.

(a) A person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he or she may use a degree of force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. A person may use deadly physical force, and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person pursuant to subdivision (5), if the person reasonably believes that another person is:

(1) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force.

(2) Using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling.

(3) Committing or about to commit a kidnapping in any degree, assault in the first or second degree, burglary in any degree, robbery in any degree, forcible rape, or forcible sodomy.

(4) Using or about to use physical force against an owner, employee, or other person authorized to be on business property when the business is closed to the public while committing or attempting to commit a crime involving death, serious physical injury, robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, or a crime of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12.

(5) In the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcefully entered, a dwelling, residence, business property, or occupied vehicle, or federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is in the process of sabotaging or attempting to sabotage a federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is attempting to remove, or has forcefully removed, a person against his or her will from any dwelling, residence, business property, or occupied vehicle when the person has a legal right to be there, and provided that the person using the deadly physical force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring. The legal presumption that a person using deadly physical force is justified to do so pursuant to this subdivision does not apply if:

(…)

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), a person is not justified in using physical force if:

(1) With intent to cause physical injury or death to another person, he or she provoked the use of unlawful physical force by such other person.

(2) He or she was the initial aggressor, except that his or her use of physical force upon another person under the circumstances is justifiable if he or she withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to the other person his or her intent to do so, but the latter person nevertheless continues or threatens the use of unlawful physical force.

(3) The physical force involved was the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law.

(d)(1) A person who uses force, including deadly physical force, as justified and permitted in this section is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the force was determined to be unlawful.


Section 13A-3-26 – Use of force in defense of property other than premises.

A person is justified in using physical force, other than deadly physical force, upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission by the other person of theft or criminal mischief with respect to property other than premises as defined in Section 13A-3-20.

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