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Facing Robbery Charges in Polk County, Florida?

Get a Lakeland defense lawyer who beats tough charges in Polk County

Robbery is a serious crime in the state of Florida, and robbery charges demand a serious response. In addition to legal consequences like jail time and fines, a robbery conviction can affect your career, your reputation, and your future. This is a felony crime of violence that will affect you in background searches. That’s why you need to push back with an experienced attorney on your side.

Don’t face Polk, Pasco, or Hillsborough County prosecutors on your own. Talk to an experienced Lakeland robbery defense attorney about your legal rights and options. Contact attorney Thomas C. Grajek today to discuss your rights in a free consultation.

What’s the definition of robbery in Florida?

According to Florida Statute 812.13, robbery involves the offender taking something away from a victim, like money or personal property, with the use of force, or the threat of force or violence.

For instance, if you’re walking down the street, grab a person, and say “I’m going to punch you in the face if you do not give me your wallet,” that is robbery since you’re using the threat of force to take their property. If you point a gun at the victim and make a similar demand, that is armed robbery, since you used a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime.

If you are standing beside a person and slyly lift their wallet from a purse or pocket, unbeknownst to the victim, it is not robbery at all. It is a type of theft crime, but not any type of robbery since there was no use or threat of use of a weapon or violence. However, if the victim becomes aware of the theft, that may be considered a special offense called “robbery by sudden snatching.”

What is robbery by sudden snatching?

The crime of robbery by sudden snatching occurs when someone takes money (or other property of value) from the alleged victim’s person with the intent to deprive that person of their money or property permanently or temporarily, and in the course of the taking, the alleged victim is or becomes aware of the taking. In other words, if you’re trying to stealthily take someone’s purse or pick their pocket, and the victim becomes aware of the theft in progress, that becomes robbery by sudden snatching.

What is the difference between robbery and armed robbery?

Armed robbery occurs when the offender uses a deadly weapon, like a knife or gun, to threaten force, violence or to put the victim in fear. Armed robbery is a much more serious offense and carries a much greater penalty than simply robbery.

What are the penalties for robbery in Florida?

If the offender carried no firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapon, then the robbery is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. This is a second-degree felony charge.

If the offender carried a firearm or other deadly weapon, the crime, according to the statute, is armed robbery punishable by up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. This is a first-degree felony charge.

If the offender has a prior felony, the sentence will be enhanced. Also, if the weapon was a firearm, and the offender is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, mandatory minimum sentencing will apply.

Any type of robbery is almost always charged as a felony, with all the implications of having a felony conviction on your criminal record.

What must the prosecutor prove in a robbery case?

There are four elements that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction.

  • The offender actually took money or property from the victim without consent of the owner.
  • The offender, during the course of the taking, used force or the threat of force to put the victim in fear of being hurt or killed.
  • The property taken had some value.
  • The offender had the intent to deprive the owner of the property temporarily or permanently.

If proof is lacking on any one element, the prosecution’s case is no good.

What are the best defenses to a robbery charge?

If you are charged with robbery or armed robbery, the situation may seem dire, but depending on the facts and circumstances, there are defenses available that may result in either reduced charges or dismissal of the charges.

Afterthought defense. The taking is an “afterthought” to the force that was used. In one case, the defendant got into a fight with a man over something unrelated to the taking of property. When the victim was lying on the ground, seemingly unconscious, the defendant then took items from the man, like his cell phone, keys and wallet. The appellate court said this was not robbery, since the use of force was not used to compel the victim to relinquish his money or property. The taking was an “afterthought.” See DeJesus v. State, 98 So.3d 105 (2012). The robbery charge was dismissed.

Well-founded belief defense. A complete defense to robbery charges is when an offender has a “well-founded belief” that the property he or she is taking actually belongs to him or her and not to the person from whom they are taking it. The offense may be assault or battery due to the use of force or threat of force, but it is not robbery or any other theft crime. See TDW v. State, 42 So.3d 959 (2010).

An alibi. The offender has been erroneously identified and can show proof of being somewhere else at the time the offense was committed.

Proof of an element is missing. The prosecutor cannot prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

A lawyer can help you fight robbery charges in Florida.

Robbery is a serious charge that has significant implications for your future. It’s also a complicated charge, with several elements that the prosecution must prove. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to fight your charges by getting evidence excluded, finding holes in the prosecution’s argument, or exposing contradictions in witness testimony, among other strategies. Often, this is enough to get your charges dropped or reduced, or to get a Not Guilty verdict at trial.

What’s important is that you act quickly. The sooner you get a lawyer on your side, the better off you are. If you’re facing charges, you need to discuss your options with an experienced robbery defense attorney right away. Get your free consultation with Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney at Law.

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