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Alabama Robbery

In the State of Alabama, robbery is categorized as a violent crime with serious consequences. Robbery is generally defined as the use or threat of force in taking, or attempting to take, the property of another. If you, or someone you know, has been accused of robbery, you need the legal services of a robbery attorney immediately. Let the Cole Law Office assist you. Contact us with some basic information such as what level of robbery has been brought against you.

Criminal law is divided into two basic categories: misdemeanor and felony offenses. A person commits the crime of robbery in the first degree if he/she violates Section 13A-8-43 of the Alabama Code and:

  1. is armed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;  or

  2. causes serious physical injury to another.

Possession then and there of an article used or fashioned in a manner to lead any person who is present reasonably to believe it to be a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or any verbal or other representation by the defendant that he/she is then and there so armed, is prima facie evidence under subsection (a) of this section that he/she was so armed. There are three categories of robbery in Alabama: Robbery 1st; Robbery 2nd; and Robbery 3rd.

  1. First-degree robbery (robbery first) is a Class A felony punishable by 20 years to life due to the mandatory sentencing enhancement applicable to use of a deadly weapon in commission of a felony. Robbery I is the most serious robbery allegation carrying the most severe punishment. It typically involves allegations that the accused used or threatened the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or causes serious physical harm to another in either taking or attempting to take property from another person. Robbery I is often called “armed robbery” because it implies that the defendant was armed with a deadly weapon such as a gun or a knife. A deadly weapon is not absolutely necessary to be charged with Robbery I, as if you cause serious physical injury to the victim, even if done without a deadly weapon, you can face robbery I charges.

  2. Second degree robbery (robbery second) is a Class B felony, punishable by 2 years to 20 years in prison and usually applies when more than one person uses force (or threatens the use of force) against another person in order to take (or attempt to take) their property. Robbery II typically means that no deadly weapon was involved, but that the threat of force (or actual force) by multiple defendants was used to intimidate the victim.

  3. Robbery in the third degree (robbery third) is a Class C felony, punishable by a year and a day to 10 years in prison and usually implies that the defendant used force, or threatened the use of force (but no deadly weapon) to take (or attempt to take) the property of another. The main difference between Robbery III and Robbery II is that Robbery III defendants typically acted alone. The typical Robbery III charge arises out of a shoplifting or gone wrong where the defendant uses any amount of force to attempt to escape with the stolen property. Robbery III is also known as the “strong armed robbery”.

Robbery Misconception:

One common misconception of robbery is that if the defendant was not successful in actually obtaining any property, he/she is not guilty of robbery, just attempted robbery. The Alabama legislature have stated that robbery applies to any actual forcible taking of property as well as attempted forcible taking of property. Thus, an unsuccessful attempt is not a legitimate defense to any robbery charge in Alabama.

Another misconception is that if no actual force was used, then no robbery took place. Robbery statutes do not require actual force, just the threatened use of force. Therefore, you do not have to injure the victim to be guilty of robbery, just threaten injury either by words or actions.

Additionally, people often confuse the terms “robbery” and “burglary,” or use them interchangeably. We have explained robbery above as a form of forcible theft per Alabama Code 13A-8-41. Although, the motive for robbery is always theft, the same is not true of burglary. Burglary, per Alabama Code 13A-7-5 is a form of criminal trespass.

A criminal trespass charge is simply that you were in a place you were not supposed to be. In order to be charged with burglary, you need not have actually committed the underlying intended offense. The prosecutor must prove intent to commit another crime such as theft, rape, vandalism or any other unlawful misconduct. If during the course of a burglary you cause physical injury to someone else who is not a codefendant in the crime or you were armed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, you could be facing a Class A felony.

Remember, robbery and burglary are two very different crimes with different possible punishments, depending on the circumstances. Contact the Cole Law Office for consultation regarding your case.

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