Robbery by sudden snatching is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. It is essentially a "purse snatching" where somebody, usually on foot, grabs an item out of another person's hands and then runs away.
It is not a strong-arm robbery as no force (other than the snatching of the item) or threat of force is used to obtain the item from the alleged victim.
To prove the crime of robbery by sudden snatching, the State must prove the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1.(Defendant) took the (money or property described in charge) from the person of (person alleged).
2.The property taken was of some value.
3.The taking was with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive (victim) or the owner of [his] [her] right to the property.
4.In the course of the taking, (victim) was or became aware of the taking.
In the course of the taking means that the act occurred prior to, contemporaneous with, or subsequent to the taking of the property and that the act and the taking of the property constitute a continuous series of acts or events.
It is not necessary for the State to prove that the defendant used any amount of force beyond that effort necessary to obtain possession of the money or other property, that there was any resistance offered by the victim or that there was any injury to the victims person.
Penalties can range from Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) all the way up to prison time. Since this crime involves an alleged victim, the State Attorney's Office will give great weight to the sentence recommendation of the alleged victim. PTI will only be offered if the accused has no priors, is an otherwise upstanding citizen, and the alleged victim agrees.
PTI for robbery by sudden snatching is rare, but if it is offered, it will only be offered in Miami-Dade County. Broward County will never offer PTI for any robbery-type crime.
Robbery is a serious offense because it cannot be sealed if the accused pleads guilty or no contest.
However, if the charge is amended to grand theft, then the case can be sealed. If a plea is in the client's best interest, a South Florida criminal defense attorney may consider persuading the prosecutor to amend the charge to something that can later come off the accused's criminal record.
I represent a lot of first-time offenders and my philosophy is pretty consistent regarding most cases. At the end of my representation, I want my client to be in the same situation they were in before they were arrested. That usually means no criminal record. That is why I offer to seal or expunge all of my clients' records as a part of my service, provided they are otherwise eligible.
If you or a loved one are facing robbery charges, call me to discuss the case. I handle cases in Miami-Dade and Broward.