Robbery: What Are the Charges?

Robberies are normally classified as felonies. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, and usually involve harm to another (or the intent of harm). This category may also include so-called white collar crimes and what the courts now refer to as fraud schemes.

As an increasingly common form of robbery, fraud schemes entail attempts to conduct a financial transaction with a victim which results in the victim’s being duped out of monies.

Can You Give An Example of Fraud?

According to the FBI, two widespread fraud schemes involve telemarketing fraud, where a product or service is pitched over the telephone and you are asked to send monies to the caller or to share your personal financial information; and Pyramid schemes, where monies which are solicited from, and collected from, new victims are turned over to older victims, to keep the momentum of the scheme going.

(More in-depth coverage and solutions to fraud schemes coming up in an upcoming blog.)

In these fraud-related crimes, the courts would hand down the same felony charge as would be handed down for the crime of physical harm. In each individual case, it would need to be determined whether the robbery charge was deemed a First Degree, Second Degree or Third Degree Felony. And, again, each state further fine-tunes such parameters.

Robbery in the First Degree

It’s not a given that a felony will result in incarceration in every state. As is the case with misdemeanors, the charge depends on the particulars of the case, and on the decision of the court.

However, there are states (New York, for instance) where the laws on the books mandate that the perpetrator must receive at least five years in a state prison for Robbery in the First Degree.

In such cases, Robbery in the First Degree is viewed as a violent Class B felony. The states which thus classify felonies code felonies from A – the most grave—to E—the least grave.

The exception, of course, would be if the person was under the age of 19 and is the courts treated them as a juvenile offender.

What about Previous Offenses?

As is the case with most felonies –and this is true regarding commonly charged felonies, like robbery – many states are able to elevate misdemeanors to felonies in cases where there’s been a second offense. Similarly, if previous felonies have been committed, that fact will be taken into account come sentencing time, and, as a result, the time behind bars may be increased.

Robbery in the Second Degree

If seen as a Class C Felony, the penalty for Robbery in The Second Degree goes down by a few years in most states, but the penalty is still considerable, with a minimum of 3 ½ years in state prison.

Interestingly, there are states which will adhere to the requisite penalty without deviation, in this violent felony category (unless we are looking at a youthful offender), regardless of whether or not there has been a previous offense of any sort. It is also true that these states do not allow a previous law-abiding reputation to influence the decision of the courts one way or another, in such categories.

What’s An Example of Robbery – Second Degree – and of the Penalty?

As an example of the sort of offense (and repercussion) which is seen quite commonly in the courts and which falls under this category, consider the following: if a group of perpetrators confront a victim and someone in the group robs the victim, it is likely that the victim will report it as a group crime.

Thus, although there was only one person who robbed the victim, the entire group will be brought in.

This charge is considered a typical one for teenagers, in many states.

Robbery in the Third Degree

In certain states, Robbery in the Third Degree is not classified as a violent felony (and is assigned a “D” coding). In this category, there is usually no minimum, penalty-wise. However, a maximum is somewhere in the vicinity of 2 to 10 years.

Keep in mind that fines may also be handed down. Additionally, the jail sentence will not be broken down into segments of time to be served. In such charges, the sentence must be served in one stretch.

What Is the Law Regarding A Statute of Limitations on Robbery?

In some states, Texas, for instance, there is a statute of limitations which the courts must adhere to, with regards to the adjudication of a crime. Since the clock starts ticking when the actual crime is committed, and the courts must begin prosecuting the crime before the statute of limitations runs out, if a case is not brought before the courts before that date, the defendant can seek to have the case dismissed.

The statute of limitations does not apply at all in the most serious of crimes, and does apply, but has a lengthy time frame, in the case of other, lesser, but still very grave crimes.

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