The crime of robbery is a felony in all U.S. states. A defendant may be charged with a first, second, or third-degree felony, depending on where the alleged incident took place and if a weapon was used. R. Davis Younts, Esq. Profile has some nice tips on this. The general, accepted definition of the crime is when a person intentionally and unlawfully takes either money or property from another through the use of threat, assault, violence, or force. Citizens who are charged with it should contact criminal defense law firms immediately. Here’s why.
Under most state laws, there are five distinct variations of the crime. The least serious charge involves sudden snatching, which is when a pickpocket or a purse snatcher steals money or property from another person’s body. If he does not use a weapon to do so, a defendant will typically be indicted on a third-degree felony. If convicted, a judge can impose any combination of the following in many states: up to $5,000 in fines, up to 5 years of probation, or up to 5 years in jail.
The other four types of robbery under U.S. state law include robbery with a deadly weapon, robbery with a firearm, home invasion robbery, and carjacking. All of them are first-degree felonies that involve minimum prison sentences and/or fines if convicted. A conviction for robbery with a deadly weapon, for example, may result in any combination of the following in many states: up to $10,000 in fines, up to 30 years of probation, or up to 30 years in prison.
With the exception of homicide, robbery with any kind of weapon is one of the most serious offenses on the books. The weapon does not need to be used for violence or force for the charges to stick; simply possessing one during the crime is enough. When a firearm is used, a defendant may also be charged with an additional offense in some states. If convicted, a judge must impose a minimum mandatory prison sentence.
Regardless of the degree, the offense is serious business. A conviction will most likely result in prison time as well as crippling financial penalties. Not to mention the fact that it will remain on your record indefinitely, which may make it difficult to secure employment. Yes, some companies are willing to hire ex-cons, but they are far less forgiving when it comes to applicants who were convicted of a serious violation.
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If you or someone you know has been accused of robbery, time is of the essence. The State is busy building its case and will be ready when the court date comes. Preparing a proper defense for robbery also takes time. Criminal defense law firms must assemble qualified teams, review evidence, procedure, and interview witnesses.
Every case is different. But one truth remains constant — human beings aren’t perfect. Witnesses often make mistakes, and the wrong person can be falsely accused or misidentified. As such, an experienced attorney will always look for inconsistencies in witness statements and testimony. He may also be able to secure a lesser charge for certain defendants through the plea bargaining process.