"Robbery" is a blanket term used to describe any type of crime involving the taking of the property of another through force or the threat of force. In Florida, robbery comes in many different forms. Some forms are more serious than others.
All forms of robbery are felony offenses, meaning that a person accused of a robbery crime faces prison time. The range of prison sentences for robbery crimes is 5 years all the way to life.
First and foremost, don't confuse "robbery" with "burglary." Burglary is the taking of property from the dwelling, structure, or conveyance (car) of another. Burglary does not require a person to take property from another person directly. Robbery, however, does. So if someone breaks into your house and you are not home, the crime is burglary. If someone snatches your purse off of your shoulder, the crime is robbery.
The lowest level of robbery is a robbery by sudden snatching. This is a typical purse-snatching scenario. This crime is a third-degree felony in Florida punishable by up to 5 years in prison. This crime does not involve the use of a weapon or the use of an excessive amount of force. It is merely the taking of property from another person by snatching the property away.
If a struggle ensues or if the accused uses unarmed force or a threat of unarmed force to take property, the crime is elevated to a strong-arm robbery. Strong-arm robbery is a second-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
If a non-firearm weapon is used (knife) in taking property from another, the crime becomes armed robbery. Armed robbery without a firearm is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
If the weapon used is a firearm, then the crime is armed robbery with a firearm. Armed robbery with a firearm is a first-degree felony punishable by life (1st PBL). It is a non-bondable offense subject to a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence under Florida's 10-20-Life law. It is one of the most serious offenses in the State of Florida.
Obviously robbery can take other forms as well. If you use force or the threat of force (armed or unarmed) to take the car of another, the crime is carjacking.
If you enter a person's home and commit a robbery in the process (armed or unarmed), the crime is classified as a home-invasion robbery.
Whether a third-degree felony or a first punishable by life, robbery is always taken seriously by police and prosecutors. If you or a loved one are facing robbery charges, feel free to contact a Miami-Dade and Broward robbery attorney to discuss your options.