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Accusations of armed robbery stand among the most serious criminal theft charges. Armed robbery qualifies as a violent felony offense in Florida, carrying extremely harsh penalties upon conviction. However, it’s important to remember that an accusation is not the same as guilt, and that there are certain strategies you may be able to employ in your defense.

What Constitutes Armed Robbery Under Florida Law?

The legal definition of robbery is the taking of money or property from another person through force, violence, assault, or by putting the victim in fear. An armed robbery charge further specifies that during the commission of the robbery, the perpetrator carried a weapon like a gun, knife, bat, or other deadly device.

In many cases, no actual physical violence needs to occur for a suspect to be charged with armed robbery. The mere insinuation of weapon possession and threat of force qualifies if it reasonably puts victims in fear for their safety.

Potential Punishments for Armed Robbery Convictions    

Due to the inherent threat of violence and public safety risks, Florida sets steep penalties for armed robbery, and prosecutors aggressively pursue convictions. Consider the following:

  • Armed robbery qualifies as a first-degree felony punishable by life in prison.
  • Minimum prison sentences start at ten years up to life, even for first offenders.
  • Substantial fines can be assessed up to $10,000.
  • Other penalties may include probation, court-ordered victim restitution, and the permanent loss of civil rights like firearm ownership and voting privileges.

A prior criminal history of other felony convictions drastically increases the likelihood of receiving harsher maximum punishments for armed robbery charges.

Potential Defense Strategies for Armed Robbery Cases

While armed robbery charges constitute extremely serious matters, an accusation is not the same thing as a conviction. You could have several defense strategies available to you, including the following:

  • Mistaken Identification: Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, especially when it involves traumatic events like robberies. Improperly implemented police lineups, cross-racial identification issues, and inconsistent witness statements can raise doubts about a witness’s recollection.
  • Lack of Evidence/Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Prosecutors carry the high burden of establishing guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. Without sufficient evidence to meet this standard, they may be unable to secure a conviction.
  • Affirmative Defenses: Certain circumstances may justify using non-deadly force, such as self-defense against an aggressor or defense of others facing harm. Eyewitness testimony, security footage, and other documentary evidence can help establish these affirmative defenses.
  • Constitutional Violations: Improper police procedures, rights violations, illegal searches/seizures, entrapment claims, or other misconduct can potentially exclude evidence without which the prosecution cannot build their case.

Why Skilled Legal Representation is Critical

Being accused of armed robbery can jeopardize your freedom, future job prospects, educational opportunities, immigration status, civil rights, and more. The stakes could not be higher, and attempting to handle your own defense puts you at greater risk of suffering the full force of the law. On the other hand, an experienced defense attorney can:

  • Scrutinize all evidence and arrest procedures for potential suppression issues.
  • Negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or dismissals when possible.
  • Develop a robust defense strategy tailored to the specific case circumstances.
  • Effectively argue constitutional rights violations and file motions to dismiss.
  • Advise you of all legal options while safeguarding your rights and interests.

The criminal justice system shows no leniency towards those accused of violent armed robbery crimes. Inadequate legal defense makes it easier for the prosecution to secure a conviction and the harshest penalties. Protect yourself accordingly.

Passionate Advocacy for the Accused in Panama City

If you or a loved one faces armed robbery charges in Panama City, contact The Sombathy Law Firm immediately to begin building a rigorous defense. Firm partner Robert Sombathy’s distinction as board-certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar is a testament to the quality of representation we provide. Let us leverage our decades of experience to advocate for you from day one. Contact our office now, and let’s get to work on your defense today.