Is It Robbery or Aggravated Robbery?
Robberies are not uncommon, and while the basic facts of many such cases are similar, the final charges can be quite different. The underlying offense of any robbery charge is always theft – taking something that belongs to someone else – but in order to elevate the charge to robbery, assault must be involved. If you have been charged with robbery of any kind, understanding the basics is critical.
Robbery refers to theft with the intention of obtaining or maintaining the property that belongs to another and – in the course of this theft – to recklessly, intentionally, or willfully either harming someone else or causing someone else to fear being harmed credibly. The actual theft need not have been accomplished for the charge of robbery to apply. Further, the violence or threatened violence necessary for a robbery charge can occur when the alleged perpetrator is leaving or attempting to leave the scene of the crime.
The charge of robbery can be elevated to aggravated robbery if any of the following apply to the case:
The defendant exhibited or used a deadly weapon in the course of the robbery.
The defendant caused someone else to be seriously injured in the course of the robbery.
The defendant threatened someone who was either over the age of 65 and/or was disabled (or otherwise made this person fear being harmed).
These mitigating factors amp up the charge considerably, and the attendant fines and penalties reflect this fact.
Fines and Penalties
In Texas, robbery charges are typically second-degree felonies that are punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Aggravated robbery, on the other hand, is usually a first-degree felony that is punishable by up to 99 years behind bars and by fines of up to $10,000. Restitution can also play a role in robbery and aggravated robbery penalties, and the court will generally take the following into consideration when making this determination:
The value of the stolen property
The level and nature of the violence used in the crime’s commission
The vulnerability of the victim
You Need a Solid Defense
If you face a robbery charge, you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but bringing your most robust defense is always in your best interest. To do this, you need to work with a savvy criminal defense attorney with considerable experience crafting concrete defense strategies that may hinge on any of the following:
You were not aware that you were committing the crime in question.
You did not intend to commit the crime in question.
No one was injured in the commission of the crime in question.
No one credibly feared they were in danger during the commission of the crime in question.