Navigating the criminal justice system is a daunting task in any circumstance, and robbery is no exception. Robbery is a serious crime, and it comes with a serious set of penalties, luckily these penalties can drastically be reduced in many cases with a strong defense. An experienced Gwinnett County robbery lawyer can lead you through the process step by step, all while developing the best defense for your case.
The crucial difference between theft and robbery is that robbery is always a felony. Theft can be a misdemeanor charge based on the monetary value of what was taken, while robbery is a much more personal crime.
While theft is the taking of another’s property without consent and with intent to deprive, robbery involves taking something from someone else by physically confronting them, whether that be by intimidation, use of a weapon, or taking the property directly from them. For example, if a lawn mower is sitting in someone’s yard unattended and an individual decides to go take it, they have committed theft. If the individual goes into the yard and grabs the lawnmower from its owner, they have committed robbery.
Because of the element of human contact, robbery is treated as a much more serious offense.
In any serious criminal defense, one of the first things the attorney needs to do is figure out who the witnesses are and interview them. Oftentimes, a private investigator will be hired to interview the witnesses and take their statements down, so that they can be compared to police statements that were made by the same people. It is important to start interviewing witnesses as soon as possible, because memories can fade.
Beyond that, a criminal lawyer will also start preparing their defense evidence such as alibis, their own witnesses, and physical evidence, if possible. Once the evidence has been evaluated, the defense attorney will contact the prosecuting attorney to begin negotiating the reduction or other settlement to the case. Ultimately, an attorney is always thinking about trial, what will happen if the case has to go to trial, and what the strategy will be to win.
A robbery lawyer might encourage their client to take a plea deal if:
The penalties on the table for a robbery charge are very severe, and sometimes, that can mean an individual accepting responsibility for something they very well may not have done, because the consequences offered in the plea deal are so much less than what would be faced at trial, and the risk is not always worth it.
Typically, if a defense team is able to negotiate a robbery down to a theft charge, it is because of a weakness in the prosecutor’s case; there are elements that are missing or that will be difficult for the prosecution to prove. For example, the police might have charged a robbery charge but it should have actually been a theft charge, like the example about an individual taking a lawn mower out of someone’s yard–if there was no one there to see it happen, it is a theft.
If someone is yelling “stop” and the individual runs away with the property, then that will likely be a robbery. If the defense can show weakness to the prosecutor in their case, they might agree to reduce it down to a lesser theft charge. Or, if there are certain mitigating circumstances, like if the defense could truly show that a person was stealing something because they had to pay for lifesaving medical procedures for their child, which is a very rare occurrence, if something like that can be shown, some heartfelt mitigating factor, then the prosecution might also agree to reduce the charge for that reason.