When you have been accused of committing armed robbery in Florida, you can be facing up to life in prison under some circumstances. General robbery charges are severe enough, but when you use a firearm or similar violent weapon the prison terms can increase drastically. A South Florida criminal defense attorney can help you understand your charges and negotiate your sentence.
Defining Armed Robbery in Florida
Robbery charges are assessed when you are believed to have taken the money or other property of another person by use of force, violence, assault, or threats. Armed robbery in Florida is defined as committing robbery while carrying a firearm or other deadly weapon.
One of the most difficult things about armed robbery charges is that the mere possession of a firearm or weapon during a normal robbery increases the charges without question. It takes a skilled South Florida criminal defense attorney to help you reduce these charges and avoid maximum penalties.
The Florida statutes indicates many items as weapons or destructive devices, including but not limited to:
- any firearm capable of discharging a projectile;
- tear gas guns;
- explosive devices;
- dirks or knives;
- metal knuckles;
- billy clubs; and
- electrified weapons or stun guns.
Robbery charges can be increased to charges of armed robbery in Florida if an arresting officer believes you have used an item as a weapon during the incident. Just because an item is not listed in the statute defining types of weapons does not mean you cannot be accused of use of a weapon during a robbery.
To argue the accusation that a weapon was used in the course of your robbery charges, you will need the help of an experienced South Florida criminal defense attorney.
Charges for Committing Armed Robbery in Florida
The state of Florida has a law known as the 10-20-LIFE law regarding robbery charges when a weapon is used. If you are accused of armed robbery in Florida you should contact a South Florida criminal defense attorney immediately to help preserve your case. Armed robbery charges can quickly escalate if you are not properly represented in your hearings.
The 10-20-LIFE rule increases the penalties when a firearm or weapon is used during the course of the felony. Simple possession of a firearm mandates a minimum 10 years imprisonment in addition to any other penalties designated by the felony. If the firearm is discharged during the course of the robbery there is a minimum 20 years imprisonment.
If during the course of the armed robbery someone is injured or killed, the minimum sentence can be from 25 years to life imprisonment. At this point, your best defense is to have a South Florida criminal defense attorney with experience in arguing charges of armed robbery.
Don’t Take Armed Robbery Charges Lightly
Florida has strict laws regarding armed robbery penalties and has been increasing enforcement of these penalties to crack down on gun use. One of the early reports of the success of this program found within 6 years of the 10-20-LIFE legislation, violent crime rates with a firearm dropped 30% statewide.
Additional initiatives have included targeting individuals with existing felony charges on their criminal records and prone to habitual violent offenses. The T.H.U.G.S. program has set up a tip line to help residents report potential criminal activity by these individuals.
This means if you are convicted of armed robbery charges your criminal record will now reflect that you have committed a violent felony. Therefore, any potentially suspicious actions on your part that could be considered a threat of violence can be reported and assessed by law enforcement.
A criminal record including armed robbery in Florida can severely damage your future. Many employers and residences will run background checks before you associate with them, and a criminal record that includes armed robbery charges will often negate your chance at employment or residency.
The best way to avoid the increased penalties of armed robbery charges is to have a South Florida criminal defense attorney review your case. An experienced attorney will have the past case knowledge to know the defense strategies that could save you from additional years in prison.
Contacting a South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
You have the right to a Miami criminal defense attorney during the proceedings following your arrest in Florida. If you are facing criminal charges in South Florida, your legal team is your best defense. Contact the Miami criminal defense attorney team at Falk & Ross to discuss your case – 1-877-663-5110.