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When to Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Regarding Robbery
Getting arrested for robbery is a very serious matter. Because it includes the threat or use of force, it is considered a violent crime under the laws of Nevada. Judges, prosecutors and juries tend to have preconceived notions about defendants who are charged.
It may be difficult for these individuals to separate their emotions from assessing the facts of the case. Because of these courtroom realities, it is important that you consider hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney for your case. You cannot afford to be convicted due to a biased judge or misinterpretation of the facts by a jury. An experienced defense lawyer will ensure that the jury understands the elements needed to prove the case under Nevada’s statute. In addition, a lawyer will craft a strong argument to show why your case does not meet all of the elements needed to sustain a conviction.
The Definition of “Robbery” in Nevada
In Nevada, robbery is defined under state statute NRS 200.380. Those who wish to learn more about the legal definition and penalties associated with robbery should carefully read the statute.
NRS 200.380 maintains that robbery is “the unlawful taking of personal property from another person, or in the presence of that person, with the use of force or threat of force.”
The threat of force or violence may be imminent or in the future. The statute also reads broadly, as the threats also apply to those made to family members of the victim or individuals in his or her company.
The statute is even more detailed, in that it requires force or fear be used to retain possession of the property, overcome a victim’s resistance to the taking or to facilitate the escape of the perpetrator.
An individual may be charged if he or she uses a threat of violence to carry out the deprivation of property. He or she does not necessarily have to use weapons to injure or scare the victim. Mere words are enough to evoke fear in the victim and may constitute a crime. If a victim must struggle against the attacker to prevent the occurrence, then the perpetrator may be charged.
Robbery vs. Burglary
In Nevada, robbery can be distinguished from burglary by the fact that it requires the use or threat of force. Burglary, on the other hand, does not require the use or threat of force for a conviction. Burglary requires that there be a breaking and entering, into a structure, with the intent to commit a crime. Burglary is also a crime that is broadly defined under Nevada laws.
An individual does not necessarily have to intend to steal property of another person to carry out a crime of burglary. He or she may intend to commit other crimes, such as arson or rape, and still be convicted of a burglary. Robbery, on the other hand, is more violence-focused than burglary. The individual must have the specific intent to steal property from the victim. If the individual does not intend to deprive the victim of property, then he or she may not be convicted.
The Penalties Behind a Conviction
Robbery is considered a class B felony in Nevada. An individual who is convicted must serve a prison sentence of two to 15 years. The individual may also face civil penalties in a lawsuit filed by the victim or family members of the victim.
If you have been charged, it is important to know that you may have certain defenses available to you. The justice system provides that a person is “innocent until proven guilty.” Defenses provide a person with the opportunity to assert his or her side of the case in court. In addition, they may serve to eliminate a potential conviction.
No Force Inflicted on Victim
If no force was actually inflicted on the victim, then this may serve as a defense to the crime. The victim will have to show that he or she experienced fear as the result of the threat of force. This is an area in which there is much greater room for interpretation, and a jury may not “buy” the side of the victim’s case.
There may be instances in which you are mistaken for the real perpetrator of the crime. Unfortunately, mistaken identity can be common when a police officer may have certain racial prejudices. It may also be common when a victim is unnerved and desperate to seek a conviction.
False accusation may be applicable if a victim is asserting robbery against you for retaliation. If this is the case, then you may require the assistance of a lawyer to show that you have been wrongfully accused of the crime.
Misunderstanding the Situation
In some cases, an individual may be joking and may not actually intend to rob a victim. The victim may misunderstand a situation and believe that he or she is being robbed. If the victim’s perception is not that of a reasonable person, then this may suffice to eliminate a conviction.
It may be necessary that the perpetrator of the crime carry out as a means of self-defense. The perpetrator will need to show that he or she was at risk of being harmed in some manner.
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