Robbery is a felony offense, which means that those charge with robbery could be facing serious penalties, including a lengthy prison sentence. There are several types of robbery charges, ranging from shoplifting to armed robbery, and severity of the penalties increases with the seriousness of the charge. Even shoplifting is considered a felony offense in Georgia if the value of the stolen merchandise is over $500. If you are facing any type of robbery charge, it is crucial that you have a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side who can develop the most effective defense strategy and ensure that the charges against you are reduced or dropped.
What Is Considered Robbery?
Robbery is a theft crime where an individual steals another person’s property, often by force, threat or intimidation, sudden snatching or placing the other person in fear of serious bodily harm. If a firearm or other type of weapon was used in the threat or intimidation, this would constitute armed robbery. Even if an unloaded gun or a replica of a weapon was used, the individual could be charged with armed robbery. Armed robbery charges can also be brought against those who only looked like they had a weapon — if you kept your hand concealed in your pocket, or behind your back while threatening a victim, this could be classified as armed robbery even if you were not carrying a weapon.
What Are the Defense Options for Robbery?
There are a range of defense strategies that your criminal defense lawyer may pursue, based on the circumstances of the case and the evidence that is available. The following are examples of defense strategies that are used in robbery cases:
- Innocence: If you are innocent of the crime for which you have been accused, you must be able to provide solid proof of your innocence. If you can provide an alibi that you were not in the location of the robbery when the robbery occurred, this can serve as a defense. If a witness can verify your alibi, this will help strengthen your defense.
- Burden of proof: In any criminal case, the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of committing the crime of robbery. In order to prove that you are guilty, the prosecution must prove every element of the charge, from taking the other individual’s property to the presence of a weapon if you are charged with armed robbery.
- Lack of evidence: This is related to the burden of proof in that there must be sufficient evidence in order to successfully prosecute a robbery charge. If the evidence is lacking, or the prosecution is unable to prove that you were present at the time of the robbery, you will likely be found not guilty.
- Intoxication: This may be a viable defense strategy if certain elements of the robbery cannot be proven, and you were intoxicated at the time of the crime. There are two types of intoxication defenses, including the following:
- Involuntary intoxication: This is when you have become intoxicated against your will or due to actions outside your control. Any criminal behavior that you engaged in while intoxicated may be excused.
- Voluntary intoxication: If you became intoxicated voluntarily, it is unlikely that you will be able to use this as a defense to have the charges against you dropped. However, you may be able to plead a lesser charge if the crime was committed while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your criminal defense lawyer will determine whether this is a viable defense strategy.
- Entrapment: If you were forced by a government agent to commit a crime that you otherwise would not have committed, the entrapment defense may be a viable strategy. While this defense can be difficult to prove, if you can demonstrate that law enforcement agents persuaded or coerced you to commit a robbery, this may be an effective defense strategy.
- Duress: This defense strategy may be used if you were forced to commit the robbery until threat of bodily injury or death. However, this can be more challenging to prove, and courts will often reject this line of defense if you did not show a sufficient fear of harm, or if you had the opportunity to avoid committing the robbery without the risk of serious injury or death.
- True owner: Your criminal defense lawyer will only pursue this line of defense if you can prove that you are the true owner of the property that you are accused of stealing.
What Are the Penalties for Robbery Charges?
In the state of Georgia, any type of robbery is considered a felony offense, and the resulting penalties are severe. The severity of the penalty will increase based on the nature and circumstances of the crime, and whether there was a threat of physical harm or violence. The following are examples of penalties you could face based on the type of robbery charge:
- Robbery: If you are convicted of robbery in Georgia, you will spend a minimum of one year in prison, with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. If you are 65 or older, you will face a minimum of five years in prison if you are convicted.
- Armed robbery: As this is considered a serious violent felony, the punishment is more severe. If you are convicted of armed robbery, you will face a minimum prison sentence of ten years, and up to life in prison and the death penalty if the nature of the crime was particularly violent.
- Armed robbery of a pharmacy: If you have been convicted of stealing controlled substances from a pharmacy or drug dispensary while armed with a deadly weapon, and you intentionally injured another individual while carrying out the robbery, you will face a minimum prison sentence of 15 years.
- Hijacking a vehicle: Also referred to as carjacking, this is a serious crime that involves stealing another person’s vehicle, whether the owner of the vehicle is present or not. In Georgia, hijacking is a felony offense, which carries a minimum prison sentence of ten years and fines of no less than $10,000 and a maximum of $100,000. If a weapon is used to obtain the vehicle, or intimidation or violence is involved, you may face a prison sentence of ten to 20 years. The penalty becomes much more severe if this is your second offense, in which case you could face life in prison and fines between $100,000 and $500,000.
- Repeat offenses: If you have been convicted of a second felony, including armed robbery, or hijacking a vehicle, you could be sentenced to life without parole. If you have three prior convictions from any other state, Georgia law states that you must serve the maximum sentence without the possibility of parole.
What Impact Does a Robbery Conviction Have?
A robbery conviction can have a significant impact on your life, especially if you are facing a lengthy prison sentence. In addition to the jail time, a robbery conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life. This can make it difficult for you to find employment, apply for a mortgage, or take other steps towards a normal life. The stigma of a robbery conviction can cause irreparable damage to relationships with family, friends, and former colleagues. You might lose your right to vote in future elections. A highly skilled criminal defense lawyer will review the details of your case and recommend the best legal course of action.
Springfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Who Are Facing Robbery Charges
If you have been charged with robbery, this is a very serious offense that requires an effective defense strategy. The skilled Springfield criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law will thoroughly examine the details of your case, determine the best defense strategy based on the evidence available, and ensure that your legal rights are protected at all times. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-205-6248 or fill out our online form. With our offices located in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve all clients of Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.