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Robbery is taking someone else’s property through force or intimidation. It is also known as larceny by force or threat. Since robbery involves the threat of injury or injury, it is deemed to be more serious than other petty theft crimes. Here is a look at the elements of robbery, the degrees of robbery, penalties for robbery, and how a lawyer can help you with robbery charges.
Elements of Robbery
For a crime to be classified as robbery, four elements need to be satisfied. The act must involve:
Taking a person’s property</p>
· In their presence
· By intimidation or violence
· With the intention of permanently depriving them of the property
Robbery is different from larceny in the sense that a perpetrator must use force or intimidation. However, a perpetrator must not necessarily apply significant force or use extreme threats to be charged with a robbery. Provided the amount of fear or violence causes the victim to surrender their possessions, it is regarded as a robbery. The amount of violence or intimidation used during a robbery depends on the victim and their possessions. If violence is used after the theft, like when a person is escaping from the police, this does not qualify as a robbery.
Another difference between robbery and larceny is that with the former, the crime must take place in the presence of the victim. This is because for threats or violence to be used, the victim needs to be present. Larceny requires that the stolen possessions belong to someone else. These possessions can be acquired in secret or in the absence of the owner. A charge of robbery only holds if the victim experienced the crime.
Degrees of Robbery and their Punishments
There are varying degrees of robbery. Punishment varies depending on the degree of robbery in question.
Third Degree Robbery
This form of robbery takes place when a criminal applies force or uses an offensive weapon to take hold of another person’s property. Many states consider this crime a felony. In New York, it is considered a Class D felony. The penalty for this crime in New York is seven years imprisonment; the punishment may vary depending on the jurisdiction where the crime was perpetrated.
Second Degree Robbery
A person is charged with second degree robbery if they commit the offense with an accomplice. Second degree robbery also involves injuring a person who is not involved in the crime and using a knife, gun, or deadly weapon when executing the robbery. In many states, car theft is classified as second degree robbery.
In New York, a person charged with second degree robbery may face up to fifteen years imprisonment. In California, the same crime carries a punishment of 2-5 years imprisonment. The crime is also considered a strike according to the three strikes law.
First Degree Robbery
A robbery charge may be considered first degree robbery where the victim or another person involved in the crime sustains serious injuries. First degree robbery also occurs when the perpetrator has a deadly weapon and threatens the victim with it.
In New York, first degree robbery is classified as a class B felony. The maximum sentence for this crime is twenty five years. In California, first degree robbery may attract three to nine years imprisonment depending on whether the perpetrator has an accomplice and the scene of the crime.
Other Forms of Punishment
Besides the degree of the crime, judges also consider the age of the defendant, and their criminal record among many other factors before handing down a prison sentence. Furthermore, there are other forms of punishment that may be given to the defendant. These include restitution, community service, and fines.
Before sentencing a robbery suspect, a judge will also look at the mitigating or aggravating factors. Aggravating factors increase the seriousness of a crime while mitigating factors reduce the seriousness of a crime. The presence of a weapon or a defendant with a criminal record, are examples of aggravating factors. Mitigating factors are things like whether the perpetrator returned the stolen goods or accepted responsibility for the crime.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
If you are facing robbery charges a lawyer can help by presenting the following defenses:
· Affirmative Defense: Your lawyer will argue that all the elements required to make a robbery charge are not present.
· Lack of Evidence: If the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove that you are guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, your lawyer will absolve you on the basis of lack of evidence.
· True Owner: Your lawyer may argue that you believed that you were the true owner of the property that you took.
· Intoxication: Your lawyer will argue that you were intoxicated to the point that you could not be capable of forming the intent required to commit a robbery.
· Duress: Your lawyer may also argue that you were forced to commit the crime.