The juvenile defendant is accused of hitting the victim from behind and demanded $300. The victim had no more than $21. The victim stated that the defendant threatened to kill him inasmuch as he had access to firearms. The defendant then stole the victim’s PlayStation 3 in lieu of the money. The victim contacted police and the suspect is arrested on felony charges of strong-arm robbery.
Strong-arm robbery can be defined as taking money or property by force, violence, assault, threat, or coercion without using a weapon. The intent is to take the property in order to deprive the owner of the property, either temporarily or permanently. In the act of strong-arm robbery, the victim becomes aware that the offender is stealing their property. Examples of strong-arm robbery would include handing a bank teller a note stating you have a gun to assist you in taking the money or physically beating up a person in order to take their wallet or purse.
Penalties For Strong-arm Robbery in Florida
Under Florida law, a strong-arm robbery is a second-degree felony. This can be punishable by up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years probation, and up to $10,000 in fines. It is assigned as a level 6 offense severity ranking under the state’s criminal punishment code. Levels in the criminal punishment code range from 1 to 10. The higher the number, the more severe the crime.
If there has not been any prior conviction of a crime, the offender may be allowed to enter into a Pretrial Intervention.
Common Defenses For Strong-arm Robbery
The following defenses are commonly used for strong-arm robbery.
- Afterthought Defense- Should the taking of the property occur after violence erupted, an afterthought of defense can be used. An example of this would be if two individuals were fighting, and one knocked the other unconscious. The conscious one takes the wallet of one knocked out. As this was an afterthought of the fight, it would not be considered robbery.
- Mere Presence- Mere presence at the scene of any crime or mere knowledge that the crime happened could result in a mere presence defense. An example of this would be if you are out with a friend who commits the robbery. You can not be convicted unless you assisted in the robbery.
- Claim of Right Defense- This type of defense can be used when the offender believes they have a right to the property.
Proof of force or testimonial evidence will be needed in order to convict the offender of strong-arm robbery. Juveniles may or may not be convicted of a felony depending on the circumstances of the strong arm robbery/crime.
RESULT: The defense argued that the client held a minimal role in the incident and convinced the State to reduce the charges. The Court ruled no formal finding of guilt resulting in only a community service sentence and NO CONVICTION!