Reports of robberies have become a staple of local daily news. Because of the increase in the rate of this crime and the potential for serious injury to victims and bystanders, robbery is considered a serious crime in Florida. Under Florida law, the crime of robbery occurs when:
The accused intentionally takes from another person money or property having at least some value through the use of force, violence, assault of threat.
This is so-called “strong arm” robbery. However, Florida law also recognizes several other types of robbery: Robbery By Sudden Snatching – In this variation, the element of force or threat of force is absent. A purse snatcher or pickpocket is therefore guilty of this offense; Robbery with a Deadly Weapon – Note that the weapon need not have actually been used to intimidate or overpower the victim – simply being in possession is sufficient. And a weapon is “deadly” if it used in a way that is likely to cause death or serious physical harm. In the hands of a robber, an ordinary brick can be a deadly weapon; Robbery With a Firearm – As with other deadly weapons, possession of the firearm is sufficient, even if it wasn’t used to threaten the victim; Home Invasion Robbery – Essentially, a “strong arm” or weapon-based robbery committed against the occupants of a dwelling; and Carjacking – A strong arm or weapon-based robbery in which the object taken is the vehicle being operated by the victim.
The potential penalties for a robbery conviction vary, depending upon a number of factors, including the value of the property taken, the defendant’s prior criminal history and the severity of any injuries suffered by the victim. In the case of home invasion robberies and carjackings, the potential penalties increase if the defendant was in possession of a deadly weapon or firearm. When a gun is involved, the possible punishment upon conviction escalates dramatically. A conviction on a charge of using a firearm during a robbery may result in a three-year minimum jail sentence if the defendant has a prior felony conviction. Additionally, however, under Florida’s so-called “10-20-Life” law, the term can be increased to ten years if the firearm wasn’t discharged, twenty if it was fired but nobody was injured and twenty-five to life if it was fired and a serious injury resulted.
Defenses: As with most crimes, to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must show that all the essential elements above exist. If any element is missing, there has been no robbery, though a different crime (such as assault), may have occurred. Thus, for example, if the property taken was that of the defendant, or if it was the victim’s, but was taken with consent or thorough fraud or deceit, robbery charges are inappropriate.
A robbery conviction, even without the use of a weapon, can have lifelong negative consequences. A successful defense requires the assistance of legal counsel with experience and devotion to your case. The dedicated legal team at Orner Law, LLC will fight for you every step of the way. With offices in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, Orner Law LLC represents defendants in robbery and other serious criminal matters throughout South Florida, including Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation.