New_Years-1 If the State of Nebraska has charged you with the criminal offense of armed robbery, you likely already realize you are facing serious penalties if convicted of that offense. Anytime a criminal offense is considered a “violent” offense it automatically increases the seriousness of the crime and the corresponding penalties for a conviction. Although every case includes a unique set of facts and circumstances that can only truly be analyzed by an experienced criminal defense attorney, you should have at least a general idea of what the State is alleging you did. Toward that end, a Nebraska armed robbery defense lawyer explains what the State must prove to obtain a conviction for armed robbery.
Criminal Law Basics — The State’s Burden
Although it is far from perfect, we are fortunate to have one of the best (if not the best) criminal justice systems in the world. It is truly amazing to think that the Founding Fathers of America were able to create a document (the U.S. Constitution) that granted so many important rights to a criminal defendant and that remains relevant today – over 200 years later! One of the basic tenets of our criminal justice system is the belief that an accused remains innocent until proven guilty. Moreover, the State (through the prosecuting attorney) must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction.
Much has been written over the last 200 plus years about exactly what “beyond a reasonable doubt” means and what level of proof is required to overcome such a high standard. To this day, there is not a single, universally accepted, definition or explanation for the term; however, one thing everyone agrees on is that the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard is the highest standard of proof in our legal system. Although it does not require the removal of all doubt, it does require the prosecutor to present evidence that removes all reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt.
The State’s Burden in Action – What Must the State Prove to Convict You of Armed Robbery?
To convict you of the charges against you, the prosecuting attorney must present evidence that proves each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. When contemplating the State’s burden in any criminal prosecution, the first thing you must do is look to the statute under which you were charged. 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.”
Next, that governing statute must be broken down into the elements that make up the offense. In the case of armed robbery, as defined above, the elements the State must prove 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
Under the elements above, it is potentially possible to be convicted of armed robbery for stealing a candy bar from a gas station if the cashier was afraid of you, even if you did not have a weapon and you made to direct threats. In reality, armed robbery typically refers to both the theft of property of greater value and the presence of force or violence during the theft.
Penalties for a Conviction for Armed Robbery
Armed robbery is a Class II felony in Nebraska which carries the possibility of one to fifty years in prison if convicted. Keep in mind that a conviction for armed robbery is also likely to cause a wide variety of negative non-judicial consequences as well given that it is both a theft crime and a crime of violence. With that in mind, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney right away if you have been charged with armed robbery.
Contact an Armed Robbery Defense Lawyer at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with armed robbery in the State of Nebraska, do not hesitate to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer 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.