Robbery is a unique crime; it is essentially the combination of two other offenses. The crime of robbery requires that a theft occur, as well as some kind of violent behavior. Violence is codified in a wide array of crimes, and theft is a crime independently as well, but Robbery was created as a separate offense. The Florida legislature made the determination that when combined, a greater community risk exists from that behavior, and greater penalties should be present. Robbery offenses are on the rise nationwide, rising from five million instances to six million in the last two years data is available for. The State of Florida is cracking down on these offenses, both by investigating harder, but also seeking more drastic punishments once the case has been filed. Fortunately for the accused, the more elements a crime has the more ways there are to craft a defense. If accused of Robbery, it is very important to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville who can go over your choices and possible strategies as soon as possible.
What is Robbery?
Robbery in Florida is defined by Florida Statutes § 812.13. The elements of robbery the state must prove to convict are:
- “taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another,”
- “with intent to . . . deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property,”
- “when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.”
There is an important distinction to be made in the final element and the language “when in the course.” Robbery is usually thought of as a “stick up,” holding a knife or gun out and threatening violence to obtain property. The other common type of robbery is grabbing an item using force, commonly seen in movies as grabbing a woman’s purse on the street. The statute does not dictate that the force must be used to obtain the property, force may be used prior to the theft portion or after and a person may still be found guilty of robbery.
The charge of Robbery in Florida can carry a wide array of penalties based on the factors of the individual case.
- First Degree Felony – Up to life in prison
- If the offender carries a firearm or other deadly weapon
- First Degree Felony – 30 years in prison, 30 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.
- If the offender carries a weapon that does not qualify above as deadly
- Second Degree Felony – 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation and a $10,000 fine.
- No weapon used
Other Robbery Charges
- Robbery by Sudden Snatching – Third Degree Felony (Second Degree with a deadly weapon)
- This robbery charge requires that the state prove the victim knew it was being taken at the time of the robbery
- It does not require the state to prove that excess force was used, the victim resisted, or the victim was injured
- Carjacking – First Degree Felony (if a deadly weapon was used, the maximum becomes life in prison)
- The charge of Carjacking is nearly identical to robbery, but requires the property in question to be a vehicle
- Home Invasion Robbery – First Degree Felony (if a deadly weapon was used, the maximum becomes life in prison)
- This charge is the entering of a dwelling with the intent to commit robbery and the completion of that attempt
Defenses to a Robbery Charge
Robbery is usually a pretty straightforward charge, with a straightforward theory of the case from the state. There are many different ways this theory can develop based on the facts though, and this creates a lot of possible defenses, highly case specific.
- Mistaken Identity – It is more common in robbery cases than other charges for the alleged victim and the perpetrator to be strangers. This can create a couple of possibilities. Identifications are extremely unreliable, the requisite knowledge is created under stress of the incident, witnesses and victims tend to focus on weapons or other details, and the human mind has a tendency to recreate and patch memories in unreliable ways. The Innocence Project estimates that one out of four identifications are incorrect. Fortunately, these statistics are starting to become more popular and known. When a case is based on an identification – whether it is mistaken identity or correctly identifying the correct person – the identification can often be attacked by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
- Mistake of Fact – A mistaken identity, as outlined above is one type of mistaken fact, it’s only isolated here because of the frequency that type of defense can be used in these types of cases. There are a multitude of other mistake of fact defenses available. Police may recover the wrong property. A victim may illegitimately claim force was used when it was not. It’s impossible to predict exactly which could apply in a specific case without reviewing the facts, but an experienced criminal defense attorney should be able to outline these after reviewing discovery.
- Constitutional Challenge – Often the police may search an individual without probable cause or a warrant. Law enforcement will also sometimes collect DNA or other types of physical evidence without a warrant. It is also common for officers to question a defendant in violation of the 5th amendment, rejecting right to an attorney or in violation of Miranda. If evidence has been collected in violation of the 4th Amendment or 5th Amendment, a challenge could suppress this evidence and improve chances of success greatly, or even end the case in dismissal.
Specific defenses available are going to be very case specific. It is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney early who is on your side and has the decades of experience required to handle a case like this. Robbery cases tend to vary in facts more than other types of accusations. It is crucial that the attorney you choose has decades of experience in various types of robbery cases and is prepared for the challenges your case may have.
Robbery Defense Lawyer in Jacksonville, FL
Lee Lockett and the legal team at Lockett Law are based out of Jacksonville, Florida. Mr. Lockett and his team travel all over North Florida and the state to defend the rights of others. The team is prepared to defend your rights if you have been accused of Robbery. Mr. Lockett began his career as a prosecutor, learning how the state proves cases, and how State Attorneys think about and approach cases. This has given him a specific skillset to bring to the legal team of Lockett Law, to dismantle these cases and attack them. Call a Jacksonville robbery lawyer today at (904) 858-9818 or connect with our team in the chat window on the bottom right of your screen to have an open and free consultation.