Montgomery County Robbery Lawyer
In Montgomery County, there were 812 robberies over the course of 2013 according to the Maryland Uniform Crime Report. The five-year average number of robberies was much higher, at 921 offenses. Police and prosecutors take the offense of robbery very seriously and Maryland imposes some of the harshest penalties for this crime of any state in the U.S. If you are accused of committing theft, you should get help from a Montgomery County robbery lawyer.
Robbery in Montgomery County
The offense of robbery is defined in Maryland Code Section 3-401. To convict you of robbery, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you obtained the services of another by force or threat or that you took property directly from a person using force or threat.
The prosecutor also must prove that one of the following is true:
- You intended not to pay for the services.
- You intended to withhold the alleged victim’s property and return it only if compensated.
- You intended to dispose of the property so an owner couldn’t find it.
- You intended to take the property permanently or for long enough to appropriate part of the property’s value for yourself.
Code Section 3-401 also states that the offense of robbery “retains its judicially determined meaning.” Essentially, this indicates that the definition developed in past court cases is considered the definition of robbery in Maryland. The “judicially determined” definition for robbery is:
- Feloniously taking or carrying away
- Someone’s personal property that he is carrying on his body
- Through the use of violence or making the person feel afraid.
You do not have to lay a hand on an alleged victim to be charged with the serious offense of robbery. If someone claims you stole something by making him afraid, you could be charged and at risk of years in prison. A Montgomery County robbery lawyer will work hard to defend you after accusations are made.
Penalties for Robbery in Montgomery County
There are two categories of robbery offenses in Maryland. These include:
- Robbery: A felony for which you could be sentenced to 15-years incarceration under Code Section 3-402.
- Robbery with a dangerous weapon: A felony for which you could be sentenced to 20 years imprisonment under Section 3-403.
If you “display a written instrument” claiming you have a weapon, this is sufficient to be charged with having a dangerous weapon. A common example is someone who hands a bank teller a note saying that he has a gun.
How a Montgomery County Robbery Lawyer Can Help
A prosecutor must convince a jury that you intentionally committed the offense of robbery. You don’t have to show you are innocent of this offense in order to avoid conviction. If you can make the jury doubt whether you committed any element of the crime (including making the jury doubt your intent), you should be found not guilty.
A Montgomery County robbery lawyer will help you introduce doubt if your case goes to trial. You may present an alternative theory of the crime; argue mistaken identity; question witnesses to make a jury uncertain about the truth of their testimony; and try to keep a prosecutor from presenting any evidence that was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. You can also raise affirmative defenses to robbery, such as claiming you acted under duress.
Going to court is just one option. You may also try to negotiate a plea bargain. Your Montgomery County robbery lawyer will advise you of your choices for responding to charges and will represent you in negotiating with a prosecutor or making a case to a jury. Call today to learn more.