Being confronted with robbery charges is a serious matter in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Robbery involves using threat or force when committing or attempting to steal something. Because of the serious nature of the offense, prosecutors are often very zealous in their presentation of evidence to win a conviction against the accused. If you are facing a robbery charge, then contacting our Westmoreland County robbery attorney as soon as possible following your arrest is a smart move.
Felony Robbery Charges
In Pennsylvania, robbery can be a first-degree felony charge, which is among the most serious charges a defendant can face, if the accused causes serious bodily injury or puts someone in fear of serious bodily injury during the commission of the act and is armed with a weapon. So-called “strong harm” robbery occurs when a perpetrator does not have or does not pretend to have a weapon but uses force or threat of bodily injury. This type of robbery is a second-degree felony. When the perpetrator takes property from someone else by force, such as grabbing a purse from a woman’s hands, then this is classified as a third-degree felony. Keep in mind that in order for a robbery to be classified as such, the person being robbed must know that they’re being robbed. Although it’s still theft, the same charge would not apply.
Penalties for Robbery
In Pennsylvania, robbery is always a serious offense. First-degree convictions come with up to 20 years in jail time; second-degree offenses are punishable by incarceration of up to 10 years; third-degree robbery is punishable by up to seven years in jail. Because Pennsylvania has a Three Strikes law, convictions for first-degree felony robbery may carry a minimum mandatory sentence of up to 20 years for a second strike and 25 to life for a third conviction.
Defenses in a Robbery Case
Because of the seriousness of felony robbery charges, your Westmoreland County robbery attorney will attempt to challenge the gradation of the charges against you to minimize the potential penalties you face. For instance, a first-degree offense may be downgraded to a second-degree offense if it can be shown that you didn’t use a weapon during the commission of the crime.
Other defenses that may be applicable in your case include misidentification; it may be the case that you were misidentified by witnesses as the perpetrator of the crime. Your attorney may also ask any witness to attempt to pick you out of a lineup; if the witness cannot do so, then it helps support your innocence of the crime.