Beaver County robbery attorneys know that robbery is an extremely serious felony charge with penalties that may include lengthy prison sentences and large fees. Because of the serious consequences of a felony conviction, defendants facing a robbery charge should contact a criminal attorney as soon as possible for representation. Robbery can be looked at as essentially a crime of theft combined with an additional component as detailed below.
Robbery can be generally defined as stealing something from someone’s person combined with one of the following:
- with the use of force,
- causing the victim bodily harm,
- threatening victim with bodily harm,
- causing the victim to be in fear of bodily harm, or
- threatening to commit a first or second degree felony
The other type of robbery exists when someone takes money from a bank or other financial institution without permission by making a demand to an employee with the intent to deprive the bank of that money.
Factors relating to grading the robbery
Whether robbery is 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree depends on a number of factors including the following that are listed below:
- If the victim sustained bodily injury
- If the bodily injury sustained was ‘serious’
- If the defendant threatened the victim with bodily injury
- If the bodily injury threatened was ‘serious’
- If there was a threat made by the defendant to commit a first or second degree felony such as kidnapping
- If the property that was taken was a controlled substance
Under Pennsylvania law, the most serious robbery felonies are the ones where serious bodily injury is inflicted and the least serious robbery felony would be a robbery of a person by use of force, with no bodily injury, no threat of bodily injury, and the property taken was not a controlled substance.
Common defenses to robbery charges are listed below:
- The defendant did not commit the crime. This is an especially good defense when the defendant has a strong alibi.
- The defendant did not use force, threats, and no injuries were sustained so it was not robbery. This defense is often used in a pickpocket situation or when it was just two people who got into an argument about ownership of the property.
- Duress is less commonly used, but it is a good defense if someone else threatened harm to the defendant if he or she did not commit the robbery.
- Lack of evidence to convict the defendant. The burden of proof is on the prosecution so they must have enough evidence to prove that the defendant did the crime, which means that it takes more than an accusation to make a case against a defendant.
- The property was the defendant’s property. If the property actually belonged to the defendant, there was no theft, which means there was no robbery.