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If you're facing robbery charges in the state of Florida, it's crucial to understand the specific laws and potential penalties that could impact your case. This resource aims to shed light on Florida Statutes Section 812.13, which defines robbery and outlines the varying degrees of this felony charge.
What Is Robbery According To Florida Law?
In Florida, robbery is defined under Section 812.13(1) as the act of taking money or other property that can be the subject of larceny from another person while intending to temporarily or permanently deprive them of that property. What sets a robbery charge apart from theft or larceny is that it involves the use of force, violence, assault, or instilling fear in the alleged victim during the course of the act.
Degrees Of Robbery Charges: The Importance Of Weapons
First-Degree Felony With A Firearm Or Deadly Weapon
Florida law takes robbery charges to a whole new level if a firearm or deadly weapon is involved. According to Section 812.13(2)(a), if you carry a firearm or other deadly weapon while committing the robbery, you'll be facing a first-degree felony. The penalty for this charge can extend to life imprisonment.
First-Degree Felony With A Weapon
The law differentiates between "deadly weapons" and "weapons." If you carry a weapon, but not a deadly weapon, during the robbery, it is still considered a first-degree felony under Section 812.13(2)(b).
Second-Degree Felony Without A Weapon
If you commit a robbery without carrying a firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapon, you could be charged with a second-degree felony according to Section 812.13(2)(c). The penalties for this degree of felony are generally less severe than those for a first-degree felony.
What Constitutes "In The Course Of Committing The Robbery"?
The phrase "in the course of committing the robbery" is clarified in Section 812.13(3). An act is deemed to be "in the course of committing the robbery" if it occurs during an attempt to commit the robbery or while fleeing after the attempt or commission of the robbery. This extends the time frame for when you could be charged with robbery, making it vital to understand how this can impact your specific situation.
Possible Defenses Against Robbery Charges Under Florida Statute 812.13
Lack Of Intent To Deprive
Florida Statute 812.13(1) states that robbery involves the "intention to either temporarily or permanently deprive the owner or the person of the property or money." Therefore, if you can prove that you had no such intent, it could serve as a valid defense. Establishing that you lacked the requisite intent can challenge the very foundation of a robbery charge.
Absence Of Force, Violence, Or Assault
According to the same statute, the use of force, violence, assault, or putting someone in fear is a critical component of a robbery charge. If it can be proven that none of these elements were present during the alleged incident, the prosecution's case could be significantly weakened.
Mistaken identity can occur in robbery cases, particularly when the incident happened quickly or under poor visibility conditions. Proving that you were not the individual who committed the crime could exonerate you.
Though a long shot, you might be able to argue that you were involuntarily intoxicated at the time of the alleged robbery, which impaired your ability to form the required criminal intent. However, this defense is generally not straightforward and might be applicable under very limited circumstances.
No Weapon Involved
The severity of a robbery charge significantly escalates if you're accused of using a weapon, firearm, or deadly weapon during the crime, as per Sections 812.13(2)(a) and (b). Proving that no weapon was involved can reduce the severity of the charge from a first-degree felony to a second-degree felony.
Duress Or Coercion
If you were forced or coerced into committing the robbery, this could serve as a defense. However, proving duress typically requires substantial evidence and can be a complicated process.
Act Was Not "In The Course Of Committing The Robbery"
Section 812.13(3) defines what constitutes "in the course of committing the robbery." If your actions can be shown to fall outside this definition—for example, if they were not part of a "continuous series of acts or events" that make up the robbery—this could also be a viable defense.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida's Robbery Law
If you're potentially facing robbery charges in Florida, you likely have many questions. This piece aims to answer some frequently asked questions based on Florida Statute 812.13, which specifically deals with robbery.
What Is The Difference Between Robbery With A Firearm And Robbery With A Weapon?
In Florida, if you commit a robbery using a firearm or deadly weapon, you'll face a first-degree felony charge punishable by life imprisonment. However, if a weapon is involved but it's not a "deadly" weapon, the charge remains a first-degree felony, but the penalties may differ.
Can I Face Robbery Charges Even If I Didn't Successfully Take Anything?
Yes, according to Florida Statute 812.13(3), an act is deemed "in the course of committing the robbery" even if it occurs during an attempt to commit the robbery. This means you can be charged even if you didn't successfully take anything, as long as you attempted to do so using force, violence, or fear.
What Is Considered A "Deadly Weapon"?
Florida law does not specifically define "deadly weapon" in the context of robbery, but generally, it is an object capable of causing death or serious bodily harm. This can include but is not limited to firearms, knives, or blunt instruments like a baseball bat.
What Is A Second-Degree Felony In The Context Of Robbery?
If you commit a robbery without using any weapon, firearm, or deadly weapon, the crime is considered a second-degree felony. The penalties for this are less severe than those for a first-degree felony.
Reach Out To Skilled Robbery Defense Attorneys Today
Don't leave your future to chance. If you're facing criminal charges, every decision you make can have a lasting impact. The criminal defense lawyers at The Watson Firm, PLLC focuses on criminal defense and know the complexities of the legal system in FL. We are determined to fight for your rights and secure the optimal possible outcome for your case. Call us today at (850) 607-2929 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We are here to help you navigate these challenging times.
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