Robbery is a felony in Alabama. Robbery involves using force or threats to commit theft. This could include yanking a purse away from someone, taking someone's wallet at gunpoint, or threatening harm to someone if they don't hand over their phone. The penalties for robbery depend on a number of factors, including whether anyone was injured or if a deadly weapon was used.
Under the Alabama criminal code, robbery charges are divided into three degrees, based on the facts surrounding the crime:
- First degree robbery
- Second degree robbery
- Third degree robbery
Robbery in the Third Degree
Under Alabama Code Section 13A-8-43, third degree robbery is theft through the use of force or the threat of force.
Use of force includes force against a person with the intent to overcome his or her physical resistance or physical power of resistance. Any amount of force may be enough to be considered robbery.
Even if no force is actually used, the threat of the imminent use of force is enough to be considered robbery. This includes threats against a person with the intent to compel acquiescence to the taking of the property or escaping with the property.
Shoplifting could rise to the greater crime of robbery if the individual uses force or threat of force to flee with the property. For example, if a shoplifter is confronted by store security and pushes the security guard out of the way, the individual may be charged with robbery.
Third degree robbery is a Class C felony. The penalties for a conviction of a Class C felony in Alabama include a minimum of 1 year and 1 day in prison, up to a maximum of 10 years.
Robbery in the Second Degree
When two or more people commit a robbery together, they may be charged with second-degree robbery. Under Alabama Code Section 13A-8-42, second degree robbery involves robbery with the aid of another person present. The second person could be acting as a lookout or help make sure the robber gets away.
Second-degree robbery is a Class B felony. The penalties for a Class B felony conviction in Alabama include a prison sentence of from 2 years to 20 years in the State penetentiary.
Robbery in the First Degree
The most serious robbery charge in Alabama is first-degree robbery. Under Alabama Code Section 13A-8-41, first degree robbery involves theft with the use of a deadly weapon or robbery that causes serious physical injury.
A deadly weapon or dangerous instrument may include a gun, knife, brass knuckles, baseball bat, or any instrument which is capable of causing death or serious physical injury.
Even if the robbers never actually had a dangerous weapon, it is still considered first-degree robbery if they say they have a weapon or cause a reasonable belief that they are armed. For example, if a robber demands someone's wallet and shows the handle of a gun, which is actually a toy gun, he or she may still face first-degree robbery charges.
Robbery in the first degree in Alabama is a Class A felony. The penalties for a conviction of a Class A felony in Alabama include from 10 years up to life in prison. If a deadly weapon was used during the crime, the minimum sentence is 20 years in prison.
Claim of Right is Not a Defense
Most people do not consider it to be theft if they take property that they think rightfully belongs to them. However, under Alabama Code Section 13A-8-44, it is not a defense to robbery charges if you think you have a right to take the property. According to the statute, “no person may submit in defense against a prosecution for robbery in any of its degrees that there was no theft because the taking was under a claim of right.”
Experienced Northern Alabama Criminal Defense Attorney
John Allen understands the risks and penalties involved with a felony robbery conviction. Experienced criminal defense attorney John Allen will vigorously defend you from robbery charges. An arrest for robbery does not mean you have to be convicted. An experienced criminal defense attorney like John Allen knows how to challenge the state's evidence and fight for his clients. Contact Huntsville defense lawyer John Allen today.