Robbery is a second degree felony under Texas criminal law regardless of the amount involved. As described on the website of Mark T. Lassiter, criminal penalties for theft depend on the value of the item stolen. Petty theft, for example, of an item or items valued at a total of less than $50 is a Class C misdemeanor, which has a maximum fine of 500% and no jail time involved if convicted.
While it is one type of theft, robbery is a much more serious offense than simple theft because of the element of violence. Under the Texas Penal Code, you can be charged with robbery if you are suspected of the following while committing theft:
- Intentional, reckless, or knowing infliction of bodily injury to another person
- Intentional or knowing infliction of fear of bodily injury or death to another person
If convicted of robbery, you could be facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 because it is a second degree felony. If you are convicted of aggravated robbery, which is theft with the
- use of a deadly weapon
- infliction of serious bodily injury to another, or
- threatening infliction of bodily harm to a disabled or elderly (over 65 years old) individual
then you could be in prison for up to 99 years and made to pay a fine of up to $10,000 because that is a first degree felony.
Robbery or aggravated robbery charges are very serious matters, and should be treated as such. Even if you believe you were wrongly charged because you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or that you did not have the requisite knowledge or intention to use violence, you will have to provide evidence of this to the jury. It is not a simple matter of explaining your side of the story.
If you are facing robbery or aggravated robbery charges, get a competent criminal defense lawyer to handle your case as soon as possible. There is a very real possibility that it could change your life forever.
A lot of people have only the vaguest idea of how criminal law works, and in general that’s a good thing because it means they have never run into trouble. The bad thing is that because of that ignorance, they could be unwittingly tricked into waiving their rights or even convicted of a crime they did not commit.
“Innocent until proven guilty” does not mean that the innocent can always prove innocence. If that were true, there would not be organizations such as the Innocence Project which takes on cases of what they are convinced are the wrongfully convicted. Technically, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor, but the innocent defendant should know that not everything is as it appears to be, and enough circumstantial evidence can convict an innocent person.
Many cases are based on circumstantial evidence that can be construed to mean one thing or the other, and can lead to a false construction of a crime. There are instances when an eye witness or an expert makes a mistake; they are human after all. As pointed out by Ian Inglis on his website, it can be struggle for a defendant to challenge these aspects of the case. Simply maintaining their innocence is not enough to convince a jury to acquit if the circumstantial evidence is compelling enough, and reasonable doubt is not introduced into the trial.
The innocent defendant also has a tendency to believe that cooperating with law enforcement shows that they have “nothing to hide” but the fact is police interrogators will do anything short of physical harm to get a confession. They work hard to break down a person’s normal defenses if they strongly believe that they have a viable suspect in custody. While this may work with a guilty person, it unfortunately works against an innocent person just as well.
The criminal defense lawyer is not there to get the guilty off the hook; they are there to protect the rights of the defendant and to ensure that they aren’t bullied into a conviction. Guilty or innocent, when faced with a criminal charge, it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer before one word comes out of your mouth.