A number of headline-grabbing Alabama robbery arrests and convictions have ourBirmingham criminal defense lawyers discussing why the government takes these crimes so seriously and how we can help mitigate such cases.
A lot of people believe robbery is solely about money. And sometimes, that’s true. We see that particularly in cases where individuals are addicted to drugs and desperate to obtain the resources necessary to get their next hit.
However, money isn’t always the only reason. A study conducted by theEconomic and Social Research Council in the U.K. found that oftentimes, the motivation is more complicated. Sometimes, it’s born of the sheer desire to fight. Other times, it is carried out as an action to right a perceived injustice. In other cases, it’s done to enhance one’s street credibility.
Of the hundreds of repeat offenders that researchers interviewed, they found that nearly 95 percent had used illegal drugs, one-third were involved in some type of gang and about 25 percent regularly carried a firearm.
Sometimes in robbery cases, motivation can matter. For example, a defense lawyer may convince prosecutors to take into account a person’s severe addiction or the desperation to provide for a child, in an effort to have the charges or sentence reduced if a conviction seems imminent.
On the other hand, your lawyer would want to turn the focus away from motive if the only reason was to scare or terrorize or boost your own reputation on the street.
What typically matters more than motivation are:
- Did you use or possess a deadly weapon?
- Was anyone physically injured?
- Do you have a prior criminal history?
A “no” response to any of these questions is going to work in your favor. A “yes” response will make your case more challenging. However, no matter what the circumstances, robbery is a crime that the state takes very seriously – which means you should too if you’re facing charges.
Under the law, robbery is viewed as more severe than simple theft because it involves the element of physical force or threat.
In the case of first-degree robbery, as defined in Alabama Code Section 13A-8-41, prosecutors consider whether you were armed with a deadly weapon (or whether you led the victim to believe you were armed with a deadly weapon) and whether anyone was hurt. This is a Class A felony, punishable by a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.
In the case of robbery in the second-degree, as defined in Alabama Code Section 13A-8-82, prosecutors consider if you used force or threats to commit a theft AND you had someone else aiding you. This is a Class B felony, punishable by between 2 and 20 years in prison.
Third-degree robbery in Alabama has the same definition as second-degree robbery, except that you are believed to have acted alone. This is a Class C felony, punishable also by between 2 and 20 years.
Some of the recent cases of robbery in Alabama include:
- A Mobile man, convicted of holding up a local credit union, was given nearly six years in federal prison after striking a plea deal with prosecutors that includes a requirement to obtain substance abuse treatment.
- A Madison County man who was just indicted on charges that he robbed an area bank, less than two weeks after being released from federal prison on a 2008 armed bank robbery charge.
- A Gadsen man who was arrested after snatching $100 from a gas station cash register before fleeing.