At the most basic level, robbery is the unlawful taking of another person’s property with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive them of it using force, violence, assault or threat.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale robbery defense attorneys know there is a tendency to downplay theft-related actions as mere “property crimes” with less severe penalties. Robbery is different because it expressly involves the use of violence or the threat of it. In fact, this is what distinguishes it from other types of theft.
Under Florida law, there are many different types of robbery and all are considered quite serious. There are a number of possible defenses a good defense lawyer could raise. If you are arrested in South Florida, recognize that your future hinges on this strategy, so it’s imperative you act quickly and speak to no one until you’ve hired and consulted with your attorney.Types of Robbery and Penalties
Robbery is defined by the state in F.S. § 812.13.
Understanding how your attorney might formulate a defense means first recognizing the various types of robbery and potential penalties.
- Robbery in the First-Degree. This is when suspect in the course of committing a robbery uses or carries a firearm or other deadly weapon. Note that “in the course of” can mean while attempting to commit the robbery, or in flight after attempt or commission. Per F.S. § 812.13(2)(a), this is a first-degree felony, punishable by a maximum term of life in prison.
- Robbery in the Second-Degree. This is when alleged robbery offender did not carry a firearm, deadly weapon or any weapon at all. In this case, per F.S. § 812(2)(c), the crime of robbery is deemed a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- Robbery by Sudden Snatching. Per F.S. §812.131, this is when defendant steals property (or money) directly from another person and in the course of that action, victim becomes aware of the crime. In order to prove robbery by sudden snatching, prosecutors have to show two things:
- Offender used any amount of force beyond what was necessary to obtain the money or property, and;
- Victim offered any resistance to offender OR there was physical injury to victim.
An attorney can deploy a number of strategic pretrial and trial defenses to robbery in order to help a defendant avoid a conviction.
This would include careful analysis of the investigation and charges to examine whether there was any violation of civil rights in the course of evidence collection, questioning of suspect or other issue that could result in suppression of the state’s key evidence.
Beyond that, the most common and effective defenses to robbery include:
- False Accusation
- Ownership or right of possession to property
- Consent or authorization given freely by owner or possessor of property
Granted, these may not be absolute defenses. For example, a person cannot barge into another’s home to reclaim personal property, even if he or she is the rightful owner. However, it could be a factor that might significantly lessen the charge and/or penalty.