What is Armed Robbery in Florida?
Robbery is a crime in Florida, but using or possessing a firearm in the commission of a robbery is a separate crime. Florida takes violent crimes very seriously, and the penalties for armed robbery are steep. If you have been accused of this crime, you need an experienced Daytona Beach criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
Defining Armed Robbery
You can find the relevant law at Florida Statute 812.13, the robbery statute. Subsections 2(a)-(b) deal with armed robbery specifically.
You commit armed robbery if you take money or property from another person with the intent to deprive them of it permanently or temporarily, and in the course of taking it you use violence, force, assault, or you instill fear. In the course of committing the crime, you carry a firearm or deadly weapon.
For example, you go into a back with a gun and point it at the teller, demanding money. This is clearly armed robbery. However, if you simply ask a person to give you money and have a gun hidden in your belt, then this is not robbery since you did not use force, assault, or fear to obtain the money.
Penalties for Armed Robbery
Under Florida law, armed robbery is a felony of the first degree, which can result in:
- Up to life in prison or life on probation
- A fine up to $15,000
Furthermore, Florida Statute 775.087 increases the penalties if you actually possessed the firearm (as opposed to being an accomplice who was unarmed). Someone convicted under this statute can be sentenced under the 10/20/life scheme:
- If you possessed the firearm, you face a minimum of 10 years in prison.
- If you discharged the firearm during the robbery, you face a minimum of 20 years in prison.
- If you injured or killed someone with the firearm, then you face a minimum of 25 years in prison.
These are tough sentences, and you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you build an adequate defense.
Defenses to Armed Robbery
Depending on the facts of your case, you might be able to argue the following:
- There is reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. For example, the firearm or weapon might never have been found, and eyewitnesses are confused about whether you are really the perpetrator.
- You had a bona fide right to the property. In other words, no robbery occurred because you did not take another person’s property or money; it was yours.
- You were merely present at the scene of the crime and not an accomplice. For example, you might have been riding around with someone who pulls up to a car, whips out a gun, and demands money. You took no part in the crime, so you are not an accomplice.
Each case is different, and it is hard to analyze your strongest defense in the abstract. If you are accused of armed robbery, please reach out to Bundza & Rodriguez today. We are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Daytona Beach, and we are prepared to aggressively defend you.