I have discussed a number of robbery crimes on this blog before, but today I want to specifically focus on armed robbery with a firearm.
Florida statutes defines robbery 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 person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear."
A robbery without a weapon is strong-arm robbery. A robbery with a weapon (not a firearm) is armed robbery. Strong-arm robbery is a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison. Armed robbery, without a firearm, is a first-degree felony punishable by 30 years in prison.
However, Florida law has certain provisions that deal exclusively with armed robbery with a firearm. That is because Florida lawmakers are tough on gun crimes. With Florida's 10-20-Life law, there are strict mandatory minimum sentences for any number of felonies that involve the possession, discharge, or use of a firearm. Armed robbery with a firearm is no exception.
Florida law states that "if in the course of committing the robbery the offender carried a firearm or other deadly weapon, then the robbery is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment.
As you can see by the statutory language, armed robbery with a firearm is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison, whereas armed robbery without a firearm is actually a lesser crime.
This shows just how serious the State of Florida considers firearm-related crimes to be.
Armed robbery with a firearm can occur in any number of situations. It can be a one-on-one situation where one person robs another at gunpoint. It may be the robbery of a store or place of business. It may also be a home-invasion robbery (which if a firearm is used constitutes another brand of armed robbery with a firearm).
Either way, armed robbery with a firearm is a non-bondable offense since the accused faces a maximum of life in prison. An Arthur Hearing may be necessary in order to get a bond for the accused.
Armed robbery with a firearm is an extremely serious crime that carries mandatory prison time under 10-20-Life. If a firearm was possessed during the robbery, a 10-year mandatory prison sentence applies, even for first-time offenders. If the firearm was discharged, then a 20-year mandatory sentence applies. Additionally, other felony charges may be added.
If the firearm is used and somebody is injured or killed, then the accused faces a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence as well as other felony charges, possibly even attempted felony murder or even murder if the alleged victim dies.
Don't underestimate robbery charges. The State will do everything in its power to get these charges filed. Sometimes people call me and say that, "the victims are not on board."
This is one of the biggest misconceptions in all of criminal law. If the ultimate penalty for a crime is life in prison, then the State can ask the judge to issue a material witness bond. This means that uncooperative witnesses (including alleged victims) can be forcibly arrested and brought into court. The State believes that they have a compelling interest to get suspected armed robbers off the streets, regardless of whether or not the alleged victim wants to prosecute.
Remember folks, this is criminal court. In civil court, it's people suing other people. In criminal court, the party bringing forth the charges is always the State of Florida. That means that the State is the victim in any criminal prosecution. The State will see to it that they prosecute violent felonies to the fullest extent of the law. Even if it means having their own witnesses arrested and dragged into court against their will.
A good South Florida criminal defense attorney is necessary when facing armed robbery with a firearm charges.
For a free consultation, call Attorney Eric Matheny today. I serve Miami-Dade and Broward.