Georgia roberry Defense Lawyer

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Being arrested and convicted for a serious crime can have life altering ramifications. You can lose your job, lose your family, and even lose your freedom. Having a criminal record can place significant limitations on your life. If you are convicted of a felony, you cannot vote or own a firearm; and there are many jobs that would be unavailable to you with a felony on your record.

Accusation or conviction of robbery is one of those serious charges that can change your life forever. Even an arrest for suspected robbery can change your life. You can be fired from your job, and even lose relationships, which is why it is so important to have the right criminal defense lawyer represent you.

What Is Robbery Under Georgia Law?

Robbery is categorized as a felony in the state of Georgia. Robbery is defined under Section 16-8-40 of the Georgia Code as the taking of property of another with the intent to do so, by one of the following methods:

  • By use of force.
  • By intimidation.
  • By threat or coercion.
  • By placing such person in fear of immediate serious bodily injury to himself or to another.
  • By sudden snatching.
  • By immediately receiving a serious physical injury.

The statute calls for someone convicted of robbery under this section to be punished “by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years.” If the victim of the robbery is over 65 years of age, then the punishment increases to no less than 5 years in prison up to a total of 20 potential years in prison. The severity of the threat or force will dictate the severity of the punishment. The threat as defined in the statute has to be immediate and in the presence of the victim for it to be considered robbery.

The crime of “armed robbery” is distinguished from “robbery” by the alleged use of a firearm or type of deadly weapon by the defendant in the commission of the theft. Obviously, armed robbery has harsher penalties due to the presence of a deadly weapon, something that would not be present if someone is charged with the crime of robbery.

The crime of “burglary” is also often mistaken for the crime of robbery, but the two crimes are different with different elements. Burglary is the crime of breaking into a dwelling, residence, or building with the intent of committing a felony inside the structure. The felony can be any felony, it does not have to relate to theft crimes. The crime of burglary focuses on the act of breaking and entering.

The crime of “theft by taking” in Georgia is also often confused with the crime of robbery. Theft by taking involves taking the property of another without their consent. In theft by taking, there would have to be no force or threat of force or some other violent means associated with the theft, as there is in robbery.

Sentencing for a Robbery Conviction in Georgia

A conviction for a robbery charge in Georgia carries with it the following potential sentencing:

  • From 1 to 20 years in prison, fines of $1,000 to $10,000, or a combination of both
  • Probation for a term of years
  • Possible community service
  • If the victim is 65 years of age or older, 5 to 20 years in prison

The amount of jail time and fines and years of probation you receive will be determined by the judge based upon the severity of the facts of your case, plus the value of the property that was stolen. If this is your second or third conviction for robbery, then you could face a lifetime prison sentence.

Is There a Possibility of Probation?

There is always the possibility of probation or a combination of a jail term of years plus a term of years for probation. Within probation, the judge can place certain requirements upon you such as continued employment and community service. A judge has to decide whether you will be a good candidate for probation. 

Some of the factors that a judge will consider when deciding to grant probation or jail time or a combination are the following:

  • Your criminal record
  • History of drug use and abuse
  • History of alcohol use and abuse
  • Your ties to the community
  • Your family situation
  • The severity of the crime

If you have been in and out of jail with a long rap sheet, then a judge might not award probation and will put you in jail citing a high risk of re-offending. However, if you have significant ties to the community, a solid job, and a family with children to support, then a judge may be more lenient and award less jail and more probation.

Defenses To a Robbery Charge

There are many defenses to a robbery charge that a knowledgeable and skilled Georgia criminal defense lawyer can use to either get the charges dismissed altogether, lessen the charges for a lighter sentence, or win an acquittal of the charges in front of a jury. 

Every case is different, with different facts that can be used for and against defendants. Here are some common defenses used in robbery criminal defense cases:

  • Burden of Proof: In order to convict someone of robbery, the prosecutor must have competent and credible evidence that proves every element of the case. If they cannot prove every element, then the charges have to be dismissed.
  • True Owner: If there is evidence that the accused defendant was actually the true owner of the stolen property, or reasonably believed that they were the true owner, then this evidence can be presented as a defense.
  • Lack of Evidence: The prosecutor has to prove that it was the defendant who was the robber. The evidence that the prosecutor relies upon has to be specific to the defendant. If there are ways to attack the identification evidence, a criminal defense attorney can exploit that evidence and make it unbelievable. For instance, eyewitness testimony is notoriously incorrect and suspect. If the defendant was picked out of a lineup, how the lineup was conducted could have been in violation of the defendant’s rights.
  • Intoxication: Although this is a difficult defense and cannot be used in every case, intoxication can sometimes be used as a valid defense in robbery cases. Because it is necessary for a prosecutor to prove that the defendant had a specific intent to steal property, it is possible that you were intoxicated enough that you could not form specific intent. This is where a skilled Georgia criminal defense attorney comes into play. They may be able to convince the prosecutor that intent is going to be difficult to prove due to intoxication. As a result, the prosecutor may lower the charges.
  • Duress: If you have competent and credible evidence that you were forced under duress and threats to engage in robbery, sometimes that evidence can be used as a defense. Or, at the very least, similar to intoxication, the evidence of duress might be used to argue for a lesser charge with less or no jail time.

There could also be other very specific defenses that can only apply given the facts of your case.

What Arguments Cannot Be Used For Defenses for Robbery?

There are arguments that, in the past, defendants have attempted to use as defenses to an arrest and charge of robbery in Georgia. Here are some examples of arguments that cannot be used in a defense:

  • Theft from a husband and wife should only be one count of robbery: This argument is not allowed. If you steal property that is jointly owned by a married couple, you will most likely be charged with two counts of robbery.
  • You did not take the property directly from the person: The theft does not have to be a one-on-one theft, meaning that you do not have to take the stolen property directly from the person’s hands or from their body. The property can be in the person’s immediate presence. For instance, if someone’s cell phone was laying on a table next to them.
  • It does not matter that you initially had permission to have possession of the property: For example, someone allowed you to borrow their car. But when they asked that you return it, you forced them through violence or coercion to let you continue to possess the vehicle.
  • You cannot be charged with robbery if you have already been convicted of burglary. The courts have decided that since burglary and robbery are two separate counts, you can be charged with robbery even after you have already been charged and convicted of burglary for the same incident. It is not considered double jeopardy.

Is a Private Attorney Better Than a Court-Appointed Attorney?

If you have been arrested and charged with robbery, or any crime, the law says that if you cannot afford a lawyer on your own, then the state will appoint a public defender to represent you. There is always a question about which is better, a court appointed attorney or a private attorney.

If you have no money and cannot afford a private attorney, by all means get a court appointed attorney. Having legal representation, even a public defender, is better than nothing. But generally, paying for an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney is always better than a court appointed attorney. Here’s some reasons why:

  • Public defenders can be underpaid and overworked. Though many public defenders are good lawyers who have a lot of criminal trial experience, the fact that their caseloads are huge does not give them a lot of time to spend on individual cases.
  • Criminal defense attorneys are often former prosecutors who know how the system works, know the prosecutor in your case, have practiced in front of the judge in your case, and have good relationships with everyone involved. This allows your private attorney to better negotiate reductions in the charges, reductions in fines and jail sentences, and reductions in years of probation.
  • Private criminal defense lawyers also have the resources to spend on creating the best legal defense possible, whether it be hiring private investigators, hiring scientific experts, and other experts to support your innocence.

If a public defender is all you can get, then by all means do so – public defenders are better than attempting to represent yourself. But if you can come up with the money to hire a private attorney, this is usually your smartest way to get the best defense of your case.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a consultation!

Springfield Criminal Defense Attorneys at Kicklighter Law Defend Those Accused of Felony Robbery

If you are accused of or are a suspect in a crime, do not hesitate to contact our experienced Springfield Criminal Defense Attorneys at Kicklighter Law. Call us at 912-754-6003 or fill out our online form. With our offices located in Springfield, we serve clients in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.