Jacksonville Robbery Defense Attorney
“Robbery” may not mean what you think it means. It’s one of the most commonly misunderstood crimes. Robbery is a theft crime, but not all theft crimes are robberies. Many theft crimes, especially those involving small-value items–are misdemeanors in Florida. But, Florida robbery is always a felony.
That’s because many different types of robbery have one thing in common. Robbery involves taking property directly from a person, or from the custody of another person. So, for example, someone who entered a retail store, threatened the cashier, demanded the contents of the cash register, and carried the money away would typically be charged with robbery. But, if the same person broke into the same store after hours when no one was present, took the same money from the same cash register, and carried it away with him, the crime would not be robbery.
All Florida robbery charges carry the possibility of a long prison sentence–in some cases, even life in prison. If you or a loved one is facing Jacksonville robbery charges, your next step should be to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Elements of Robbery in Florida
To secure a conviction for robbery in Florida, the prosecution must prove that the defendant:
- Took property from the person or custody of another
- Force, violence, assault, or putting in fear was used in the course of the taking
- The property taken was of some value
- The taking was made with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the person or owner of the property
In plain English, the prosecution must show that the accused used threats or force to take property he or she didn’t have a right to, took that property directly from another person’s possession or care and intended to keep the property for some period of time. The number of elements makes it a bit complicated. But, if you’ve been accused of robbery, that may work in your favor. The prosecution must prove each of those elements beyond a reasonable doubt. That means your Jacksonville robbery attorney only has to find a flaw in one piece of the argument to fight for an acquittal.
Robbery is a felony of the second degree, which means a possible prison sentence of up to 15 years. However, robbery may be a more serious crime carrying more severe possible penalties if a weapon is involved.
If the defendant carried a weapon in the course of committing the robbery, the crime is a felony of the first degree. That means a possible sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
If the defendant carried a firearm or other deadly weapon, then the crime is a felony of the first degree punishable by life in prison.
In short, there are no minor robbery charges in Florida. Anyone who has been charged with or accused of robbery should seek advice and representation from an experienced Jacksonville robbery lawyer right away.
Attorney Matthew Lufrano devotes his legal practice to helping people who have been charged with crimes in and around Jacksonville. He understands how important it is for someone facing criminal prosecution to have reliable information and guidance from the outset. That’s why he offers free, no-obligation consultations. You can schedule yours right now by calling 904-643-7981.
Florida Robbery Statistics
Robbery crimes in Florida have declined across the past few decades. Still, in the most recent year reported, there were nearly 6,000 robbery arrests in the state. And, those arrests represent a fraction of the reported crimes. During the same year, the Florida Uniform Crime Report shows that 16,862 robbery reports were filed. About 7% of those involved incidents at gas stations and convenience stores, and another 11.6% other businesses. More than 17% took place in residential locations.
222 of those arrests were in Duval County. Statewide, nearly 40% of robberies involved firearms, meaning a longer possible prison sentence.
Specific Types of Robbery
Florida law also sets forth several more specific robbery crimes.
Robbery By Sudden Snatching
Robbery by sudden snatching occurs when:
- Property is taken from the victim’s person,
- With the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the victim or the owner of the property,
- The property was of some value, and
- In the course of the taking, the victim is or becomes aware of the taking
Though “sudden snatching” may sound violent, robbery by sudden snatching doesn’t require any force, that the victim was injured, or that the victim offered any resistance. For example, pulling a purse from the victim’s shoulder and running away could constitute robbery by sudden snatching.
Because there is not necessarily any force or threat of force involved in the crime, robbery by sudden snatching is a lesser offense than standard robbery. The crime is a felony of the third degree if no firearm or deadly weapon is involved. In Florida, a felony of the third degree carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years.
However, if the robber carries a firearm or other deadly weapon in the course of a robbery by sudden snatching, the crime is a felony of the second degree, with a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
The elements of carjacking are exactly the same as those required for a standard robbery conviction, with one exception. While robbery may involve money or any other property, carjacking relates specifically to the taking of a motor vehicle.
Carjacking is a felony of the first degree, meaning that any carjacking conviction could mean up to 30 years in prison. But, if the carjacker carries a firearm or other deadly weapon in the course of the crime, the sentence may be up to life in prison.
Home Invasion Robbery
Home invasion robbery is any robbery that involves the perpetrator entering a dwelling with the intent to commit a robbery and robbing the occupants of the home. Home invasion robbery is always a felony of the first degree, carrying a possible penalty of up to 30 years in prison. However, a person who carries a firearm or other deadly weapon in the commission of a home invasion robbery may be sentenced to life in prison.
Fighting Florida Robbery Charges
Robbery charges are always serious, with possible penalties ranging from five years to life in prison. But, a robbery charge doesn’t necessarily mean a robbery conviction. And, actual sentencing in robbery cases varies.
An experienced Florida robbery attorney may be able to:
- Argue for a potential reduction in bond
- Find weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence to use as leverage for a favorable plea agreement or reduction in charges
- Move to suppress evidence based on an unlawful search or other improper police procedures, which may result in dismissal of charges if key evidence is excluded
- Conduct an investigation to find evidence or witnesses to call the prosecution’s case into question
- Fight the charges against you in court, holding the prosecution to its high burden of proof
Jacksonville Robbery Defense Lawyer Matthew Lufrano
When it comes to criminal defense, experience counts. Matthew Lufrano has been fighting for people charged with Florida crimes for more than a decade. While many attorneys are reluctant to take criminal cases to trial, Mr. Lufrano is a Board Certified Expert in Criminal Trial Law and has tried 75 cases before Florida juries. He currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Jacksonville chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
To learn more about how the criminal defense team at Lufrano Legal, P.A. can put that experience to work for you, call 904-643-7981 or fill out the contact form on this site. The initial consultation is free and there’s no obligation.