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The Ins and Outs of Armed Robbery Charges

Incidents of armed robbery in the US are still considerably higher compared to the rest of the first world countries. National statistics put the number of armed robberies that occurred in 2018 at slightly over 121,000, with targets ranging from convenience stores to wealthy people\’s houses.

Degrees of Robbery

Degrees of robbery vary from state to state. While every state has its own criminal procedures with regards to robbery, armed robbery is sometimes taken up as a federal crime as is the case with bank robberies. Nonetheless, robbery is almost always prosecuted under state statutes. Generally, robbery incidents are classified into the following 3 degrees according to their severity and casualties:

First-Degree Robbery

This typically occurs when a suspect was armed in the course of committing the robbery and causes serious harm to another person, not a party to the crime. It may also occur when the suspect used or threatens to use a dangerous object, particularly a firearm. 

In some states, e.g. New York, first-degree robbery is regarded as a serious felony and carries a maximum possible sentence of 25 years. California, on the other hand, has more relaxed laws on this with sentences ranging from 3 to 6 years. 

Second-Degree Robbery

This is where a person commits a larceny with the help of another party, and in the process, they use or threaten to use a firearm whether real or fake. 

Sentences for second-degree robbery vary from state to state. In California, it carries between 2 and 5 years. 

Third Degree Robbery

This occurs when, in the course of committing a crime, the robber uses or threatens to use force or a weapon to prevent or overcome resistance from the victim. It includes crimes like mugging and blackmailing where force, no matter how minor, is used or promised.

Third-degree robbery is the most common type of robbery, and the majority of states have specific penalties for it – although they\’re less than first and second-degree robbery. For instance, third-degree robbery is rated as a Class D felony in New York (the state with arguably toughest criminal justice systems) and is punishable by a maximum jail term of 7 years.

Robbery and Theft

Both robbery and theft involve taking other people\’s property. The key difference is that, in robbery, force is used or threatened. Another difference is that when it comes to sentencing, judges consider the value of property stolen when passing judgment on theft cases. In robbery cases, however, that doesn\’t count. What counts is how much force was used, how many people were involved in carrying out the crime, and how many innocent people were injured.

For first-degree robbery charges, an experienced criminal lawyer may secure an acquittal if the weapon the defendant allegedly used was not capable of firing a shot. They may also cite mistaken identity or lack of intent in their defense. 

Have You Been Charged? 

If you\’re facing robbery (or even theft) charges, an experienced criminal lawyer is your best bet to beat the case. They will fight for your rights and help you look for and exploit loopholes to secure a not guilty verdict.

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