Georgia Armed Robbery Lawyers

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 What Is Robbery?

Theft refers to taking someone else’s property, with the intent to permanently deprive them of that property. However, American law has determined that there are many different levels of theft, as well as distinct theft crimes that carry a range of penalties. Additionally, theft can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor crime, depending on the circumstances of each case. Many states use the term “larceny” to refer to the crime instead of “theft.”

Robbery is a specific type of felony theft. The crime of robbery is defined as the taking of property from another person by the use of force, intimidation, or the threat of force. This is why the crime is sometimes referred to as “larceny by threat or force.”

Some states have determined that the use or threat of force does not need to be directed at the intended victim; however, the threat does need to be immediate. Additionally, the crime must be committed while in the presence of the victim for it to be considered robbery.

The general elements of robbery include:

  • The taking and carrying away;
  • Of the personal property of another person;
  • From their possession, or while in their presence;
  • Against their will; and
  • By force, fear, violence, intimidation, or threat of force.

It is important to note that while robbery is often confused with the crime of burglary, they are two different crimes. Burglary involves the breaking and entering into a home or other building, while intending to commit a felony once inside.

What Is Armed Robbery?

If a robbery is committed while using a firearm or other deadly weapon, the crime may then be considered armed robbery. This will often result in a harsher penalty for the defendant. Armed robbery could be considered a first-degree felony, in which a robbery victim was beaten with life-threatening injuries. However, armed robbery could also be considered a third-degree felony when the victim of the crime was not injured.

A felony sentence generally includes a prison sentence and a fine. When a crime is committed using a deadly weapon, the privilege to carry a firearm could be revoked as suspended. Depending on varying state laws, the type of weapon used in an armed robbery could be a determining factor when classifying the felony.

According to criminal law, the term “deadly weapon” refers to a firearm or any other object that is used (or intended to be used) in a manner that could cause serious injury or death to another person.

The term refers to objects that most people would not usually think of as deadly weapons. Some common examples include:

  • Attacking someone with athletic equipment, such as a baseball bat;
  • Intentionally striking another driver or pedestrian with their motor vehicle;
  • The more obvious use of knives or guns;
  • Pursuing a person with an ax; and
  • Various other uncommon items, such as broken bottles, attack dogs, power tools, gardening tools, and blunt objects.

The legal definition of what constitutes a deadly weapon is intentionally broad in order to avoid any loopholes. Simply put, any object that has the potential to cause great bodily injury or death to another person could be considered a deadly weapon for legal purposes.

How Does Georgia Define Armed Robbery?

Armed robbery in Georgia is defined through Georgia Code §16-8-41. According to this code, “a person commits the offense of armed robbery when, with intent to commit theft, he or she takes property of another from the person or the immediate presence of another by use of an offensive weapon, or any replica, article, or device have the appearance of such weapon.” Additionally, the state of Georgia has determined that Armed Robbery Of a Pharmacy is to be treated as its own armed robbery crime.

Another way to put this is that Georgia armed robbery is the crime of using an actual weapon, a replica weapon, or something that looks like a weapon in order to take property from another person; or, to take property that is in the person’s immediate presence. This is done with the intention to commit a theft.

What Is An Offensive Weapon In Georgia?

Each state may have its own definition of what constitutes an offensive weapon. In Georgia specifically, an offensive weapon includes weapons which are offensive in nature, as well as other items that are not generally considered to be offensive in and of themselves. These are items which a jury may find likely to cause death or great bodily injury, depending on how the item is used. This was clarified by Eady v. State, 182 Ga. App. 293 in 1987.

Specific weapons that have been found to be outright offensive according to Georgia criminal law include:

  • Machetes;
  • Swords;
  • Knives; and
  • Guns.

These specific weapons have been categorized as “offensive per se” as they do not have “innocent” qualities to them. Georgia courts decided in 1997, through Wright V. State 228 Ga. App. 779, that hands and feet are not considered to be weapons according to the armed robbery statute.

It is important to note that a Georgia jury will determine whether an item can be considered a deadly or offensive weapon. Some examples of items that a jury has found to be an offensive and/or deadly weapon include:

  • A starter pistol;
  • Nunchucks;
  • A tire tool;
  • A screwdriver;
  • A pellet gun; and
  • A cooking skillet.

What Is The Penalty For Georgia Armed Robbery? Are There Any Defenses?

Armed robbery is considered to be a felony crime in Georgia. As such, an armed robbery conviction is generally punished by a prison sentence of ten to twenty years, which must be served in a federal prison facility. The minimum sentencing for armed robbery is ten years in prison with no option for early release.

Armed robbery in Georgia has been punished with being sentenced to prison for life. Additionally, the state has determined that the most severe punishment for especially egregious cases of armed robbery is the death penalty.

As previously mentioned, Armed Robbery of a Pharmacy is considered to be its own type of armed robbery. It is considered to be especially serious, and carries a prison sentence of no less than fifteen years.

The crime of armed robbery is largely contingent upon the defendant’s intention to harm another person while depriving them of their property. As such, a common defense to the crime would be that the defendant had none of the aforementioned intentions. Other examples of commonly used defenses include:

  • Nothing was stolen;
  • Self defense;
  • Innocence, supported by an alibi or witness testimony;
  • The crime was somehow justified; or
  • No weapon was actually used to accomplish the crime.

Available defenses will vary widely, based on the circumstances of each specific case. It is advised that you work with an attorney if you are facing armed robbery charges in Georgia.

Do I Need An Attorney For Georgia Armed Robbery?

If you are being charged with armed robbery in Georgia, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyer immediately. State laws vary widely in terms of what constitutes armed robbery, what constitutes a deadly weapon, and how the crime is punished. As such, working with an area attorney will ensure that you receive the most relevant legal advice based on the laws of your specific state.

An experienced and local Georgia criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if there are any viable legal defenses available to you. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed, while protecting your constitutional rights.

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