If you’ve been charged with robbery, it is imperative that you find a highly experienced criminal defense attorney to get on board as soon as possible. There are several different categories of robbery charges, some which are much graver than others, however all robbery charges should be taken with the utmost seriousness. In the simplest terms the charge of robbery requires proof that one person took something belonging to another person, that the taking of that item or items was either taken in the presence of the person it belonged to or actually from their person, that it was taken against the will of the other person and that force was either used or threatened in order to take the item or items. In some states such as California, a robbery conviction can be counted under the Three Strikes Law, making it doubly important to take the charges seriously and have representation before you appear in court.
How Does Burglary Differ from Robbery?
Burglary occurs when a person enters a building or vehicle with an intention to commit a felony—any felony, not necessarily theft. First degree burglary occurs when a person enters a residence with the clear intent to commit a felony and can be counted as a strike under the Three Strikes Law while a second degree burglary conviction is usually not counted under this law. Robbery, on the other hand is stealing something from someone through violence or the threat of violence. If no threat of violence is present, then the crime can be charged—depending on the circumstances—under lesser charges of theft, larceny or grand larceny.
Aggravated and Armed Robbery Charges
Aggravated robbery is generally a class 3 felony—depending on where you live—and may be charged in the event you were aided in the robbery with other accomplices. Armed robbery requires that the person being charged used a deadly weapon or simulated the use of a deadly weapon, threatening those who were being robbed with the weapon. A conviction of armed robbery will usually bring a prison sentence ranging from seven to 21 years, although in some rare instances probation may be granted—a definite benefit of hiring the most knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
What to Do if You’ve Been Charged with Robbery
First and foremost if you’ve been arrested and charged with any crime, it is almost never to your advantage to talk to anyone prior to retaining an attorney. While almost everyone in America has seen a television show where the police officer advises the suspect of their right to remain silent, few people follow this practice in real life—or on television. Remember, however, the people on television get to go home while you may not if you don’t remain silent until you can speak with an attorney.
Most people believe they can “talk their way out of it,” and attempt to explain their position to the police officer. In almost every single case, what comes out of a suspect’s mouth will return to bite them and their statements can and will be used against them. Robbery is a serious, violent offence and the potential penalties could include significant amounts of prison time. Your attorney will carefully consider the factors in your specific case including whether a weapon was used, if there were injuries to victims, if you have prior convictions, if you have ever been related in any gang activity, the location of your alleged crime, the witness credibility, evidence strength and whether any mistakes were made by the police during your arrest.