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Robbery is often confused in the public mind with the crimes of stealing, theft and burglary. In fact, robbery is recognized as a separate crime in its own right. In Florida, robbery as defined by Florida Statutes § 812.13 - 812.135, always involves the use of force or violence, or the threat of force or violence, in order to deprive someone of their lawful possessions, whether this is cash, a car, or other personal property. 

There are several different crimes of robbery, such as robbery with intent to take a motor vehicle (also colloquially known as ‘carjacking’), home invasion robbery and robbery by sudden snatching.

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One easy way to recognize the distinction between robbery and theft is to imagine someone being stopped in the street by another person or persons who threaten them with a knife or gun and demand money from them. This is an example of robbery. If the same crime victim had been pick-pocketed five minutes earlier by someone else, that would have been theft, a less serious crime.

To prove that a robbery has taken place, certain criteria must be established by prosecutors. If evidence for any of these criteria is not available, the charge may not be sustainable. Prosecutors must show that:

  • the defendant took money or other personal property from someone else without their permission. the money or property must have been on the other person’s body or within their close possession;

  • the defendant intended to take the money or property, either temporarily or permanently;

  • the money or property had some value, even if its value was relatively low. 

  • the removal of the money or property was accompanied by violence, force, or a threat of force or violence.

Penalties for robbery

Robbery is regarded as a serious crime in Florida and is more serious than theft. Home invasion robbery is more serious than burglary, which involves breaking in to someone else’s building when no-one is in attendance. The penalties for robbery depend partly on whether a ‘deadly weapon’ was used.

  • Robbery without a deadly weapon is a felony in the second degree. A conviction could mean up to 15 years in prison. 

  • Robbery with a deadly weapon is a felony in the first degree. A conviction could mean a life sentence.

  • Home invasion robbery is a felony in the first degree, whether a deadly weapon was used or not. This could mean a life sentence as well.

Defenses against a charge of robbery

The main defenses used against a charge of robbery center on showing that there is insufficient evidence that proves ‘beyond reasonable a doubt’ that the defendant intentionally took money or property by force or threat of force. Even if the charge cannot be dismissed altogether, it may still be possible to get the charge reduced to theft, burglary or some other lesser offense with less severe penalties.

If you have been arrested for robbery in Florida, you will need decisive legal representation. It is your right to be defended in court. You cannot be convicted unless the prosecution has sufficient evidence that can prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that you committed the offense. Contact Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes, at 305-644-1800 as soon as possible.

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Albert M. Quirantes | Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Office
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