Florida treats both robbery and theft charges and convictions seriously, and a robbery conviction has the potential to land a criminal defendant in jail for many years. If you have been charged with robbery or theft in Florida, you need experienced legal counsel on your side advocating for your rights every step of the way. The knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group can safeguard your legal rights and help you formulate good legal defenses to your charge.
Defining Robbery in Florida
Robbery refers to intentionally taking or depriving an innocent victim of property, through the use of force or threats of force, with the intention of permanently depriving the victim of said property.
Most states, including Florida, also criminalize armed robbery, which is a separate and distinct crime from an ordinary robbery. Armed robbery is defined in much the same way as robbery, except that armed robbery must be committed with a deadly or dangerous weapon, such as a knife, firearm, or other instrument or device that is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death.
Possible Penalties Upon Conviction
Due to the serious nature of a robbery conviction, along with the danger, a convicted robber poses to the public at large, robbery is classified as a felony under Florida law. An ordinary robbery conviction may result in a prison term of as many as 15 years, while an armed robbery conviction may result in a prison term of as many as 30 years.
Possible Defenses to Robbery and Armed Robbery Charges A criminal defendant may assert some or all of the following legal defenses against a charge of robbery or armed robbery:
- Duress – in cases where another individual essentially forced the defendant to commit the crime or threatened the defendant with death or grave bodily harm if he did not commit the crime.
- Entrapment – in cases where the police or investigators unlawfully coerced or incited the defendant to commit the crime
- Improper or illegal searches and seizures – where police officers or investigators violated the Fourth or Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
- Inability of alleged victim to correctly identify the suspect – in cases where the alleged victim is unable to identify the defendant as the person who committed the robbery
Defining Theft in Florida
Theft is defined as taking and carrying away personal property or merchandise with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of said property or merchandise. Unlike robbery, a theft need not involve violence or force.
For a Florida theft offense to qualify as a retail theft, the offender must have had the specific intent to deprive the owner of the use, benefit, or possession of the stolen merchandise. Under Florida’s shoplifting law, merchants are free to detain a person or persons suspected of shoplifting for a “reasonable time” to investigate the situation and try to retrieve any stolen goods.
Contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you have been charged with robbery or theft in Florida, you need experienced legal representation by your side. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida criminal defense lawyer, please call us today at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.