If you have been arrested and charged with the criminal offense of armed robbery you likely already realize that you face significant penalties if convicted of that crime. In the State of Nebraska, the crime of robbery is considered a violent offense which almost always increases the severity of the punishment if convicted. The first, and most important, step you should take when charged with a crime of this magnitude is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. To provide you with some general information, however, an armed robbery defense lawyer explain the crime of armed robbery and discusses some common defenses.
The Elements of Robbery – What Must the State Prove to Convict You?
Under the rules of the United States criminal justice system, the State (via the prosecuting attorney) must prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. To do that, the prosecuting attorney must prove each and every element of the crime using the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. Therefore, it is imperative that you understand what the elements are for the crime of which you have been accused. Although the term “armed robbery” is frequently used, there is no actual crime of armed robbery in the State of Nebraska. Instead, the criminal offense of “robbery” includes an element of violence or fear that is not included similar crimes that carry less severe penalties, such as theft. In the State of Nebraska, Nebraska Revised Code Section 28-324 governs the criminal offense of robbery, reading as follows:
“A person commits robbery if, with the intent to steal, he forcibly and by violence, or by putting in fear, takes from the person of another any money or personal property of any value whatever.”
Breaking down the robbery statute, the elements that must be proven by the State include:
- That the defendant had an intent to steal
- That the defendant used force or violence OR put the victim in fear
- That the defendant took property of any value
- That the property did not belong to the defendant
The elements that must be proven in order to convict the defendant offer several potential defenses, depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, the first element requires the State to prove that the defendant had an “intent to steal.” An “intent to steal” is defined as the intention to permanently deprive the owner of the item. If the defendant took a golf cart with the intention of going joyriding, for instance, but planned to return the golf cart afterward, the defense could argue that the “intent to steal” element was not satisfied.
Another thing to note is that under the robbery statute, stealing, without the element of force or the threat of force, cannot be charged as robbery. Sneaking into a business at night, for example, and stealing everything in the store would not be robbery because there is no force, violence, or threat.
Penalties for Robbery
As mentioned above, robbery considered a crime of violence because the crime requires the defendant to have used force, violence, or fear during the commission of the crime. As such, robbery is charged as a Class II felony in Nebraska and carries a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum of 50 years in prison if convicted. Because robbery is a crime of violence, there may be additional non-judicial penalties to consider if convicted, such as the inability to apply for a change of status if you are a not an American citizen.
Contact an Armed Robbery Defense Lawyer at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with the criminal offense of robbery in the State of Nebraska, consult with an experienced Nebraska armed robbery defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.