If you have already been arrested for Robbery in Fort Walton Beach, or if you think you are being investigated for Robbery, you have some decisions to make.

  • Should I talk to the police or not?
  • Should I hire a private criminal defense attorney to represent me, or
  • Should I go with the public defender that the state gives me?

There is really no debate about how to answer the questions above. If the police want to talk to you, they think you committed a serious crime that could land you in prison. Why make their job easier? Tell them you have a lawyer and you won’t talk.

As for the decision about hiring your own Okaloosa County criminal defense attorney vs. trusting your freedom to the public defender, ask yourself if you will feel better going to court with a lawyer that YOU picked vs. one that was assigned randomly to you along with hundreds of other clients.

All Robbery charges in Florida are felony and all will result in a prison sentence if you are convicted. Give yourself the best chance possible and consult with the Fort Walton Beach robbery defense lawyers at Flaherty & Merrifield. Call us at (850) 243-6097 and see for yourself what we can do for you.

Information about Robbery charges in Fort Walton Beach

Robbery is defined in Florida Statute 812.13 as:

the taking of money or other property from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.

In other words, Robbery is taking something by force from another person.

There are several different levels of Robbery, with different potential penalties.

Robbery by Sudden Snatching

This level of Robbery takes place when someone takes money or property directly off the victim’s person, and in doing so, the victim was aware or became aware of the taking. A common example is purse snatching.

Possible Penalties:

  • Robbery by Sudden Snatching is a third degree felony with a possible five year prison term
  • If the suspect carried a firearm or other deadly weapon, the charge is a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. In the case of a firearm, it is possible that the state will charge you under Florida’s 10/20/Life law which subjects you to a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Robbery with a Deadly Weapon

If you were carrying a deadly weapon during the commission of the Robbery, you will be charged with Robbery with a Deadly Weapon. This charge is a first degree felony with a 30 year maximum sentence. Under the Florida Punishment Code, this is a Level 8 offense which under the guidelines “scores out” to a minimum sentence of 34.5 months if you are convicted.

Home Invasion Robbery

According to Florida Statute 812.135, Home Invasion Robbery means “any robbery that occurs when the offender enters a dwelling with the intent to commit a robbery of the occupants therein.”

Home Invasion Robbery is a first degree felony. If no weapon or firearm was used, the maximum sentence is 30 years in prison. If a firearm or weapon was used, the crime is punishable by life in prison.

Robbery with a Firearm

This charge is a first degree PBL felony which means it is punishable by Life in prison. It is a Level 9 offense under the sentencing guidelines which “scores out” to a minimum of 48 months in prison. However, if the prosecutor decides to charge you under Florida’s 10/20/Life, you will face a minimum of 10 years in prison, up to life.

Defenses to Robbery in Fort Walton Beach

Let’s face it. Robbery charges are tough to work out with a plea because the plea offer will usually involve many years in prison. That means there is a good chance the case will go to trial. The most common defense at trial usually centers around the identification of the suspect. Eyewitness testimony is commonly used. If you were smart and didn’t talk to the police or confess, the police will look for fingerprint or DNA evidence linking you to the scene of the crime.

If they don’t find any incriminating evidence that points to you as the suspect and all they have is the eyewitness testimony of the alleged victim, there is a chance to win a Robbery case at trial. Eyewitness testimony has been extensively researched and has been shown to be the least reliable type of direct evidence. We will use that to your advantage if it applies to your case.

The bottom line is that you need attorneys who will fight to keep you out of prison.

Have You Been Arrested For a Robbery in Florida?

If you've been arrested for robbery or theft in Fort Walton Beach, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097 for a free, confidential case review.

Brandy Merrifield
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney