The first step an attorney will take in preparing a defense for robbery charges is to interview their client. Within that first step of interviewing the client an Atlanta robbery attorney needs to establish rapport and trust with the client to the point that they trust the attorney has their best interest in mind. An attorney can then build on this foundation of trust by learning the client’s history, the client’s story, and the facts and circumstances surrounding the robbery charge that the client is facing.
From this initial foundational interview, the attorney can then begin to explore the defenses that may apply to the client in their specific case and begin interviewing witnesses and other individuals related to the case to learn more about the underlying facts and circumstances.
Theft means that something was taken, while robbery means something was taken using the force or threat of force. Due to this difference, robbery is seen as a different crime because it is a crime where the victim suffers emotional trauma, potentially physical trauma, and a loss of property.
Courtrooms, judges, prosecutors, and juries see robbery as a different animal than simple theft because of the element of force involved, while society sees the harm suffered though robbery as greater than that suffered through theft.
The first step of compiling the evidence begins with interviewing the client, gathering police reports, reviewing the evidence in the polices’ possession, and determining if the client has any evidence in their possession that might be beneficial to their case. Investigators are crucial in developing what evidence may or may not be admissible at trial and what is necessary to build a defense for the attorney and their client’s case.
Specifically, in robbery cases the intent and force are important aspects as they must be used to take the property. An experienced attorney therefore will attempt to create enough doubt with the prosecutor that they may be willing to offer a plea deal or reduce the charges to something less severe such as simple theft.
Similarly, the same kind of approach will work with the jury at trial. A defense attorney will attempt to raise the intent defense with the jury and create belief that force was not used and there was no intent to use force to take the property. Even though someone is charged with robbery, if the jury does not believe that the defendant intended to use force to take the property the jury can find the defendant guilty of the less serious charge of theft.
A criminal defense lawyer might encourage their client to take a plea deal when all available means of securing a pre-trial dismissal or when it becomes clear that the options for trial and the opportunity to convince the jury that defendant is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt have failed. When the evidence is such that the prosecution has a slam dunk case or when a sentencing judge may be exceptionally harsh at sentencing, should the individual be convicted, then perhaps a plea deal is very beneficial especially if it doesn’t involve jail time.
With that said, it is a case-by-case decision and an experienced attorney who has seen the plea offers before and who has seen the sentences handed down at trial before will know when to advise their client to take a plea deal and when to push on to a trial.