It is considered robbery when a person uses force or the threat of harm in order to take money or property from another person. The use of force is what differentiates a robbery charge from a charge of theft or shoplifting. Robbery is considered to be a violent crime and is a more severe charge than theft due to the suffering of a victim or victims.
Robbery charges may vary by state, but the severity of the charges are determined by the severity of the crime. Robbery is typically considered to be a violent felony. Most states classify robbery into different degrees based on severity, with first degree robbery being the most extreme and carrying the harshest penalties. The details of the scenario and other charges that were incurred at the same time may also affect the severity of robbery charges.
Any robbery that affects the Federal Banking System is handled by the federal government as opposed to state government agencies. Robberies that affect the trading of goods between states are also charged and penalized by the federal government. These crimes may warrant stricter charges and penalties than those that are tried by the state.
First Degree Robbery
Defendants that are arrested for first degree robbery have typically used a weapon during the confrontation. The weapon could have been brandished in a threatening manner, or may have simply been in the possession of the defendant during the robbery. If a robber injures the victim during the incident, the robber will be charged with first degree robbery, although other charges may also be filed for battery. If the victim is elderly or impaired, it may also be considered first degree robbery, regardless of whether weapons were used.
Bullying and Robbery
In school bullying incidents, many juveniles commit an act of robbery when another student is threatened or harmed, and property is taken. Though this act is often viewed by parents as typical juvenile behavior, it is considered robbery and can be punishable as such. Depending on the age of consent in the particular state, these incidents may result in a felony record and the offender being tried as an adult.
In many cases of robbery, the victim is asked to describe and identify the robber. This is an imperfect practice, and many victims falsely identify a person that is not guilty. In some cases, this may result in a false conviction, with an innocent person being punished for the crime.
Florida Robbery Penalties
First degree robbery typically results in ten years to life in prison and high fines. Second degree robbery is usually punishable by five to 30 years in prison and fines, as well. States in which there are other degrees of robbery may determine lower prison sentences and fines as punishment. Offenders may also be ordered to make restitution for the items or property that was stolen.
Florida Robbery Defenses
The use of force in robbery charges often makes a robbery defense more difficult than other types of theft. Even if the defendant believed that the property that was being taken was rightfully owned by the defendant, the use of force may constitute battery charges or other violent criminal charges. It is important to understand all of the elements that a robbery contains prior to developing a defense.
It is considered a robbery if the crime contains all of the following elements:
- Property was taken from an individual
- The property was removed from the victim’s body or presence
- Force or serious threats of injury were used
- It is determined that the intent was to permanently deprive the victim of property
If one or more elements of the robbery cannot be proven, the defendant may be able to obtain reduced charges, or have the charges dropped. The defense may consist of proving that the item that was taken was not to be permanently kept by the defendant, or that force was not used during the incident. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to assist with forming a solid defense and compiling all of the necessary evidence.
To charge an individual with robbery, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual committed the act. A lack of evidence or testimony against the defendant may result in dropped charges. An alibi that can place the defendant at a place other than the scene at the time of the robbery may greatly assist the defendant in proving innocence.
“18 U.S. Code Â§ 2113 – Bank Robbery and Incidental Crimes.” LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, 13 Aug. 2013. Web. 25 May 2014.
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“Statutes & Constitution: View Statutes: Online Sunshine.” Statutes & Constitution: View Statutes: Online Sunshine. The Florida Legislature, 24 May 2014. Web. 25 May 2014.
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