Robbery Offenses in the State of Florida
The term robbery is often thrown around as though it’s interchangeable with the terms theft and larceny. But in the Florida legal system, robbery has a distinct meaning. A typical shoplifting offense, for example, is a form of theft, but it does not constitute robbery.
The crime of robbery has four different elements to it – 1) taking something 2) that has value 3) from another person by violence or intimidation, 4) with the intent to steal it. To be more specific, robbery is defined by Florida Statute 812.13 as, “The taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the owner or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault or putting in fear.”
In order for someone to be convicted of robbery in Florida, all of the elements of the robbery offense must be proven. This means that even if a person steals an exceptionally valuable object, if they did not use force, violence or assault, and they did not put the victim in fear, then they are not guilty of robbery. (The prosecution does not, however, have to prove that the accused intended to permanently steal the object. Someone who steals a car can be guilty of robbery, so long as the elements of robbery are proven – even if they only intended to take the car for a joy ride and then return it.)Variants of Robbery
Some forms of robbery offenses fall under specific statutes. These statutes include:
Robbery with a firearm – This offense is just what it sounds like. You are guilty of robbery with a firearm if you commit all the elements of robbery, while in possession of a firearm. It doesn’t matter if you actually used the firearm while you were committing the robbery. If you had the firearm on you at the time, that’s enough for a conviction.
Robbery with a firearm can often result in a sentencing under the 10-20-Life law. Under this law, there are situations in which the use of a gun in a robbery will result in a minimum 10-year prison sentence. If the gun goes off, the minimum sentence is 20 years, and if a victim is injured or killed by the gun going off, the minimum sentence is 25 years.
Home invasion robbery – Under Florida Statute 812.135, this offense occurs when someone “enters a dwelling with the intent to commit a robbery, and does commit a robbery of the occupants therein.”
With the statute worded this way, one is not guilty of home invasion robbery if they decided to commit a robbery after they entered the dwelling.
Robbery by sudden snatching– This is generally a less serious offense than robbery with a firearm or home invasion robbery. It occurs when someone takes money or property from a victim’s person, with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive them of it, and the person is aware of the taking at some point in the commission of the crime. Purse snatchings are a typical example of robbery by sudden snatching.What to Do If You’ve Been Charged with Robbery
Robbery charges can be quite severe – severe enough that, in some circumstances, they can land you in prison for life. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Mark S. Lowry can defend you against robbery charges. If you’re interested in a consultation, call or e-mail the office today.