Robbery is a specific type of felony theft, defined as the taking of property from another person by the use of:
- Intimidation; or
- The threat of force.
For this reason, felony theft is sometimes referred to as “larceny by threat or force.”
Some states have determined that the use or threat of force is not required to be directed at the intended victim. However, the threat must be immediate, and the crime must be committed while in the presence of the victim.
The laws of each state differ in terms of what constitutes a robbery charge. Generally speaking, the elements of robbery are:
- The taking and carrying away;
- Of the personal property belonging to another;
- From their possession or in their presence;
- Against their will; and
- By force, threat of force, fear, violence, or intimidation.
It is important to note that although the crime of robbery is generally confused with the crime of burglary, they are two different and distinct crimes. Burglary involves breaking and entering a home or other building, with the intent to commit a felony while inside. The primary difference between the two crimes is the “breaking and entering” element. Additionally, burglary does not necessarily involve the use or threat of force.
In Nevada specifically, NRS 200.380 defines the crime of robbery as “the unlawful taking of personal property from the person of another, or in the person’s presence, against their will, by means of force or violence or fear of injury, immediate or future, to their person.” The statute goes on to describe other circumstances which define the crime of robbery.
Some common examples of Nevada robbery crimes include, but may not be limited to:
- Holding up a victim by using a gun;
- Threatening physical harm to a person, if they do not comply with commands to hand over their wallet; and
- Mugging someone by ripping their bag away from their shoulder.
Is Robbery In Nevada a Misdemeanor? What Is Attempted Robbery?
Nevada considers robbery to be a felony crime. More specifically, the state classifies robbery as a Category B felony; this includes attempted robbery. Category B felony crimes are the second most severe class, resulting in a sentence of one to twenty years. This incarceration is to be spent in a federal prison facility, as opposed to a county jail. The person convicted for robbery may also be required to pay a substantial criminal fine.
If the convicted did not use a firearm or deadly weapon when committing robbery, their prison sentence may last between two and fifteen years. However, this sentence can actually double in cases of armed robbery, as that is considered to be a case of aggravated robbery.
Nevada defines “deadly weapon” as being any object that could reasonably be used to cause death in another person. Some common examples of what constitutes a deadly weapon in Nevada include, but may not be limited to:
- Firearms (including revolvers, shotguns, pistols, and rifles);
- Knifes (including machetes, switchblades, and dirks);
- Nunchucks and throwing stars;
- Pipes and bricks;
- Broken items, such as glass; and
- Explosives of any kind.
As previously mentioned, attempted robbery is also categorized as a Class B felony in Nevada. Attempted robbery is defined as trying AND failing to steal, through violence, force, or fear of injury. The penalty for attempted robbery is one to ten years in prison; the sentence may be enhanced up to an additional ten years if the defendant used a weapon when they tried and failed to steal.
What Does The State Need To Prove In Order To Convict Me Of Robbery?
In order to prove that the defendant is guilty of robbery, the state of Nevada must also prove that they used fear when committing the crime. Nevada must show that the defendant used fear to:
- Retain or obtain property possession;
- Prevent or stop any sort of resistance to the taking of property; and/or
- Escape from the scene in which the robbery occurred.
The amount of force used when committing the robbery is not an influencing factor. What matters, in legal terms, is that force was used at all to force the victim into handing over their property, or escape with that property.
Are There Any Legal Defenses For Nevada Robbery?
Whether any defenses will be available to the defendant will largely depend on the circumstances of each specific case. However, there are three defenses that are commonly used in an attempt to have the charge reduced or dismissed. These defenses are:
- The Defendant Was Misidentified: If the robbery victim cannot accurately describe or identify who actually robbed them, the defendant may be able to use this fact as their defense. This is due to the fact that the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; if the defense can create doubt with an argument of misidentification, the robbery charge may be dismissed altogether;
- Lack Of Force Or Fear: To reiterate, a charge of robbery requires that the defendant intentionally used force or fear of injury to complete the crime. If the defense can prove that the victim did not fear injury, and that no force was used, the robbery charge may be reduced; and
- Nothing Was Taken: The defense may be successful if they can prove that the defendant did not actually take anything, nor did they attempt to take anything. An example of this would be how a person simply being scared by someone else is not considered to be robbery, if the person doing the scaring did not take anything.
What Else Should I Know About Nevada Robbery?
According to NRS 200.380, judges are to consider the following factors when determining any additional sentencing:
- The unique facts and circumstances of each individual case;
- Whether the defendant has a criminal history of robbery, or a criminal history in general;
- How the robbery’s victim has been impacted by the crime, such as experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder;
- The presence of any mitigating factors, or facts specific to the defendant that would make them less blameworthy; and
- Any other information that the judge considers to be relevant.
In terms of using a deadly weapon, the defendant does not necessarily need to brandish the weapon in order for it to be considered deadly. Simply possessing one of the aforementioned weapons would be considered sufficient when enhancing the sentence. This is due to the fact that Nevada has determined that as long as the victim is aware of the weapon, that is sufficient to enhance the sentence for robbery.
An additional defense may be that the police committed some type of misconduct. An example of this would be if the police obtained their evidence by way of illegal search. The defense would be able to request that the court suppress the evidence, rendering it unusable. The District Attorney would not have sufficient evidence to prosecute for robbery.
Do I Need An Attorney For Nevada Robbery?
If you are being accused of committing robbery in Nevada, you will need to consult with an experienced Nevada criminal defense lawyer. Because the definition of what constitutes robbery varies by state, as does the prosecution and sentencing process, it is advised that you work with an experienced and local criminal defense attorney. Doing so will ensure you receive the most relevant legal advice according to the state in which you live.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will protect your rights, while helping you determine what legal defenses are available to you. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.