Fort Lauderdale Armed Robbery Lawyer
Trust our Broward County robbery defense attorneys to fight for you in court.
Armed robbery charges are filed when one person threatens another with a firearm or other weapon, demanding money or other valuables in the victim’s possession. The presence of a weapon could cause this type of robbery charge to become a first-degree felony. If the defendant is found to have been in actual possession of a firearm, the court may apply Florida’s 10/20/Life sentencing rule, triggering mandatory prison sentences. Related charges are extremely serious in Broward County, and those who are facing charges should immediately seek the counsel of an experienced Fort Lauderdale armed robbery attorney.
What prosecutors seek to prove
There are several elements the state of Florida must prove to obtain a conviction for armed robbery. In addition to establishing the defendant was carrying a firearm at the time the crime was committed, the Broward County prosecutors also must prove that:
- the accused took money or property from the victim or from his or her custody;
- the accused used force, assault or put the victim in fear during the robbery;
- the property that was taken was of some value;
- the robbery was intended to deprive the victim of his or her right to the property, to deprive the victim of any benefit or proceeds of the property, or to appropriate the property as his or her own or as belonging to anyone else who is not the rightful owner of the property;
- the accused was in actual physical possession of the firearm during the robbery.
As with all criminal cases, the prosecution must prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Armed robbery cases are heavily prosecuted in Fort Lauderdale, and the State often seeks prison time for first offenses.
Florida’s 10-20-Life Law
In an effort to decrease the number of gun charge cases, Florida enacted the 10-20-Life Law, which is a mandatory minimum sentencing statute. Under the law, producing a firearm during the commission of certain felonies carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years; firing a firearm while committing certain felonies mandates a minimum sentence of 20 years, and shooting someone while committing a felony carries a minimum sentence of 25 years to life. In addition, the law established the following minimum sentencing guidelines:
- a minimum 3-year sentence in state prison for felons who possess a firearm;
- a minimum 15-year prison sentence if convicted of possessing a machine gun or semiautomatic gun with high-capacity box machine while committing certain crimes;
- a minimum 3-year sentence for aggravated assault with a firearm;
- a minimum 3-year sentence for aggravated assault on a police officer;
- a minimum 3-year sentence for aggravated assault on a person who is 65 or older;
- a minimum 5-year sentence for aggravated battery on a police officer;
- a minimum 8-year sentence for possessing a machine gun or semiautomatic firearm; while committing any type of battery on an officer or a person who is 65 or older.
Defenses to armed robbery in Broward County
In addition to standard pretrial defenses, there are other factors that could help your case in Fort Lauderdale. For example, in many instances, the victim doesn’t always clearly see the armed robber. Therefore, the defendant could have been falsely accused due to mistaken identity.
Broward County law enforcement may use lineups to see if victims can identify their attackers. Lineups are sometimes prejudicial and may subtly or even overtly persuade the victim to identify the accused as the attacker. In these cases, the defendant’s defense attorney could challenge the integrity of the lineup. In other cases, witness testimony may be unjustly influenced by the state in an overzealous attempt to convict the defendant.
In some instances, a defendant might have committed armed robbery, but was forced to do so. This is common in gang-related cases and similar scenarios where one party threatens to hurt or kill another if the second party refuses to commit the crime. A Broward County armed robbery attorney could argue that the defendant committed the armed robbery under duress and would not have committed the offense otherwise. If the defense is able to establish the element of duress, the defendant is more likely to avoid conviction. The possibility of all these circumstances underscore the importance of hiring experienced counsel.
Help is a call away
During your free, confidential consultation with Davitian Law, P.A., our staff will work to understand all of the facts of your gun defense case so we can best advise you on your options. When you retain our Ft Lauderdale armed robbery defense attorneys, we’ll be with you every step of the way, ensuring that you’re treated justly, and that your rights are protected. Call us now to find out how we can help you.