A 42-year-old man is facing robbery charges in Birmingham after authorities say he robbed people at gunpoint while claiming to be a local police officer.
The Birmingham News reported the defendant tried to stop a victim near Birmingham-Southern College. The victim pulled up to a BSC Police gate, where the defendant allegedly told police he was an officer, before driving away. Half hour later, is is accused of ramming a vehicle on Interstate 20/59 and attempting to force it off the road. He then reportedly followed the victim to an East Lake Boulevard convenience store, where he again said he was a cop.
He is now charged with robbery, attempted murder and two counts of impersonating a police officer.
At the very least, an experienced Birmingham defense attorney will likely negotiate the attempted murder charge away. This is a charge filed by the prosecutor as a means of intimidating the defendant.
However, the robbery charge is also very serious. Under Alabama Law (Section 13A 8 40-44) defines robbery in the first, second and third degree.
-First-Degree Robbery: May be filed if the defendant is armed with a dangerous weapon, causes another to think he is so armed, or causes serious physical injury to another. Robbery in the first degree is a Class A felony punishable by up to life in prison.
-Second-Degree Robbery: May be filed in a case of third-degree robbery when another present person aids in the robbery (two or more robbers). This is a Class B felony and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
-Third-Degree Robbery: Uses force or the threat of force against another person in the commission of a theft offense. Class C felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
A robbery charge is among the most serious types of Alabama theft offenses. Other theft offenses, include:
-Theft of property
-Theft of services
-Receiving stolen property
Receiving stolen property is often a charge law enforcement will use to attempt to get friends, family members or accomplices to implicate someone in a theft crime. It can be either a misdemeanor (under $500) or a felony (over $2,500). Authorities may also play games with the value of items, or will combine the value of stolen items, in an attempt to file more serious charges.
While each case is unique, it is never in your best interest to cooperate with authorities until you’ve had a chance to speak to an attorney. Those who do, often find they cooperated for free. Unless you have an attorney present, law enforcement will often not live up to a “deal” struck in exchange for information. In fact, it’s the prosecutor who will ultimately decide the charges — not the police officer.
Frequently, theft crimes can be difficult to prove. Don’t harm your case by making statements to law enforcement that will be used against you later or that may conflict with a future defense strategy.
You have the right to remain silent. Exercise it.