Casually, people use the words Robbery, Theft and Burglary to mean that a person stolen something. But Florida defines them to mean slightly different things. Simply put, Theft means you took something that doesn’t belong to you. Unlike Theft, Robbery or Strong Arm Robbery, means that you took something from a person.
Robbery Defined and Explained
Elements of the Crime
Technically, Robbery is the taking of property from the person or custody of another with the intent to deprive them of it. However, Florida requires some Assault, use of force or violence, or placing someone in fear. It takes more than a polite swindle or trick to commit Robbery.
Interestingly, you don’t have to Assault, use force or violence against, or place in fear the victim of the theft. You can steal a woman’s purse in a bank and then push the security guard out of the way as you run through the front door.
Although most Robbers take property from people, the law says they can take it from the custody of the person too. So if you take the purse resting next to a woman eating lunch, that’s a Robbery. It doesn’t matter that she’s not wearing the purse.
If charged with Robbery by use of force or violence, the force or violence must overcome the resistance. Or the person must be too afraid to resist. The law doesn’t require someone to resist. But unless prevented by fear, there must be some resistance to make the taking done by force or violence.
Armed Robbery and Other Related Issues
Typically, Robbery is a second degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison. The max increases if you carry a weapon or firearm. Then it becomes Armed Robbery. Carrying a weapon during the Robbery makes it a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Carrying a firearm makes it a first degree felony punishable by life in prison. Also, the possession of a firearm adds at least a 10 year minimum mandatory sentence. Check out the page explaining penalties for Firearm Offenses by clicking here.
Additionally, the victim doesn’t have to own the stolen property. If you rob a bank, you take the bank’s money. But you use force against the bank teller or security guard. It doesn’t matter that the bank teller or security guard doesn’t own the money.
Unlike almost every other Theft offense, it doesn’t matter during a Robbery if you stole a dollar or a million dollars. You can even steal a pack of gum. The statute treats those situations the same. You’re still guilty of Robbery. Keep in mind, you’d have to repay more in restitution for the million dollars than the single dollar. Moreover, your potential sentence will very likely be greater as the dollar amount stolen increases.
Robbery By Sudden Snatching
Robbery by Sudden Snatching is the least serious Robbery crime. It’s a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Unlike Robbery, Robbery by Sudden Snatching doesn’t require force, violence or fear. But the person must know something was taken during the Robbery. For example, if a woman held an open purse and you reached in and took something, that’s a Robbery by Sudden Snatching.
Robbery in Federal Court
In Federal Court, the Hobbs Act regulates Robbery and Extortion offenses which obstruct, delay or affect commerce. Here, Robbery means the unlawful taking or obtaining of personal property from the person or in the presence of another, against his will, by means of actual or threatened force, or violence, or fear of injury, immediate or future, to his person or property, or property in his custody or possession, or the person or property of a relative or member of his family or of anyone in his company at the time of the taking or obtaining. Although the language is more complicated, the concept is the same. The maximum punishment is 20 years in federal prison.
Talk to an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney!
Offenses as serious as these require assistance from a criminal defense attorney. You can face life behind bars if arrested. But it doesn’t mean you’re guilty if you’ve been arrested for one of these offenses. Mr. Brown has handled lots of Robberies and can’t wait to discuss your situation with you.
The criminal defense firm Brown Legal PLLC operates from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but regularly handles cases throughout South Florida and the rest of the state. Before it’s too late, talk to Mr. Brown and see if he can help you best defend yourself! Reach out over the phone at (954) 524-6700 or through the Contact Page if you have any questions.