Georgia Robbery Lawyers

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 What is Robbery?

Robbery is a type of felony theft which is the taking of property from another individual by using:

  • Force;
  • Intimidation; or
  • The threat of force.

For these reasons, robbery is sometimes referred to as larceny by threat or force. In certain states, the threat or use of force does not have to be directed at the intended victim.

The threat, however, does have to be immediate. In addition, the crime has to be committed in the presence of the victim.

If the offender commits the robbery while using a firearm or other type of deadly weapon, the crime may be considered an armed robbery and will typically result in a harsher penalty for the offender, or the defendant.

The laws in every state may differ slightly in their definition of what constitutes a robbery charge. However, the general elements of robbery usually include:

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

It is important to be aware that, while robbery is oftentimes confused with the crime of burglary, the crimes are not the same. A burglary is defined as the breaking and entering into a residence or another building with the intent to commit a felony therein.

The main difference between burglary and robbery is burglary has an element of breaking and entering. In addition, burglary does not have to involve the use or threat of force.

What is Theft by Taking?

In Georgia, a theft by taking is the criminal taking of the property of another individual without their consent. The offender takes this property with the intent to permanently deprive the individual of their property.

A theft by taking becomes a robbery when an offender takes the property of another individual with the intent to permanently deprive them of that property and uses force or another violent method to obtain that property.

What is the Robbery Law in Georgia?

In Georgia, a robbery occurs, when, with the intent to commit a theft, an individual takes property that belongs to another individual from their presence by:

  • Using force;
  • Suddenly snatching the property;
  • Intimidating the victim;
  • Coercing the victim;
  • Threatening the victim; or
  • Putting a victim in fear of an immediate serious physical injury or of another individual
  • immediately receiving a serious physical injury.

Are Robbery and Armed Robbery the Same Crime?

According to Georgia law, armed robbery and robbery are separate crimes. As with robbery, armed robbery is the crime of taking the property of another with the intent to commit a theft. However, in an armed robbery, the offender is accused of using a weapon during the commission of the crime.

Is it Robbery or Armed Robbery if the Weapon I Used is Fake?

Under Georgia law, the use of a fake weapon is sufficient for a crime to be considered armed robbery and not a standard robbery. Even if the weapon is fake, it is considered a crime. If it would be reasonable for an individual to believe that the fake weapon was real, it is considered a crime.

In many states, the offender does not have to actually use force in order for the theft to be considered a robbery. If the victim reasonably believes that they would be injured or harmed if they did not cooperate, that would be enough.

The majority of courts consider using a fake weapon during a robbery to be an armed robbery, assuming that a victim reasonably believed that the weapon was real. An armed robbery can also be defined as theft that is accomplished by the use of a weapon.

Because a robbery refers to a theft that is achieved by a threat of force or the use of force, armed robbery can be described as a defendant using a weapon to force or to threaten to force a victim into taking their money or property.

Additionally, if a toy firearm is used during the robbery to strike the victim, the toy firearm becomes a weapon by legal definition. Therefore, robbery with a fake weapon is usually treated the same as a robbery involving a real weapon.

What is the Punishment for a Robbery Conviction in Georgia?

If an individual is convicted of a robbery in Georgia, they may face:

  • A prison sentence of 1 to 20 years;
  • Criminal fines between $1,000 and $10,000; or
  • A combination of both.

If the victim in the crime is 65 years of age or older, the sentence ranges from 5 to 20 years in prison. The punishments for armed robbery are also more severe.

If a defendant is convicted of armed robbery, they may face 10 to 20 years in prison, with a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison without early release. Another common sentence for armed robbery in Georgia is a life sentence. The death penalty is the most severe possible punishment for armed robbery in Georgia.

The penalties for a conviction of armed robbery of a pharmacy in Georgia are even stricter. If an individual robs a pharmacy and steals prescription drugs as well as inflicts serious bodily injury upon an individual during the commission of the crime, they will face a prison sentence of no less than 15 years. An individual will be required to serve at least 10 years in prison with no early release.

In addition, if an individual has a serious felony conviction from another location in the United States and then are convicted of a serious felony in Georgia which does not require the death penalty, the individual will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Are there Legal Defenses to Robbery?

Yes, there may be some legal defenses available to robbery. Because of the violent nature of the crime, most states consider it to be a serious crime and treat it as such. A defendant may, however, be able to present some defenses, depending on the circumstances of the case. These defenses may include:

  • Burden of proof: The prosecution has the burden of proof to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, every element of the crime;
  • True owner: This defense may be available when a defendant is able to prove either that they are the true owner of the property or that they reasonably believed they are the true owner of the property which they were accused of taking;
  • Lack of evidence: The prosecution is required to provide evidence that the defendant was the one who committed the robbery;
  • Intoxication, which is an affirmative defense: If the defendant was involuntarily intoxicated, it may be used as a defense. If, however, the defendant was voluntarily intoxicated, it may cause their charges to be reduced;
  • Duress: The duress defenses may be available to a defendant who was forced by threat of death or bodily injury to commit the robbery. This defense can often be difficult to prove; and
  • Actual innocence: In certain cases, the defendant may be able to provide proof that they did not commit the crime, which may include proof that they were in a different location at the time the crime occurred.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for My Robbery Charge?

It is essential to have the assistance of a Georgia criminal lawyer if you are facing robbery charges. Your attorney can review your case, determine if there are any defenses you may be able to assert in court, and represent you any time you are required to appear in court. In addition, your attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed, depending on the circumstances of your case.

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