Robbery Penalties and Sentencing
In most criminal cases, juries determine a defendant's guilt or innocence and judges determine sentences for the guilty. When crafting sentences, judges rely on the language of the relevant criminal statute for guidance on the term of the sentence. Judges then look at any aggravating or mitigating factors to determine the exact sentence to hand down. This is true for robbery as well as for other crimes.
Robbery Penalties and Sentences: Statutory Guidance
Criminal statutes will typically include a section that sets a punishment for the crime in question, often suggesting a range. The punishment described in a criminal statute can take many forms, including a range of years with a minimum and maximum sentence or a list of several distinct options from which judges may select. Judges also may take into account factors such as the defendant's age, the existence of prior arrests or convictions, and other details.
California, for example, sets the prison penalties for second degree robbery at two, three, or five years. Judges can select which of those punishments the defendant will receive based on the facts of the case.
New York, on the other hand, establishes a minimum and maximum term of imprisonment and allows judges to select the appropriate penalty from within that range. For second degree robbery, the statutory range consists of a minimum prison term of one year and a maximum term of 15 years.
Restitution and Other Penalties
In addition to prison, probation, and other sentences, statutes may also establish other forms of punishment, such as fines, community service, and restitution. Defendants who are unable to pay restitution to the victims may be ordered to perform community service instead.
Judges will look at the facts of a case as well as any aggravating or mitigating factors when deciding on the exact sentence and related penalties to give to a defendant after conviction. In a robbery case, judges will typically factor in the value of the stolen property, the level of violence or intimidation used, and the nature of the victim to reach a suitable punishment.
An aggravating factor increases the severity of the crime, while a mitigating factor reduces it. In jurisdictions where the use of a weapon during a robbery forms a component of punishment instead of creating a separate crime, the presence of a weapon constitutes an aggravating factor that will increase the length of a defendant's sentence. The defendant's criminal record can also act as an aggravating factor.
Mitigating factors for a robbery case can include such things as whether the defendant returned the stolen property or took responsibility for the commission of the crime. The lack of a criminal history can also provide a mitigating factor for the defendant.
Free Consultation with a Criminal Defense Attorney
Robbery can be a confusing criminal charge because it involves an element of intent. Unlike a DUI or even statutory rape, robbery usually requires that the perpetrator intends to permanently deprive the victim of their property. No individual defendant can be expected to understand the full ramifications of every charge and every defense to a criminal case without a good criminal defense attorney. So if you're being investigated or charged with a crime, you should get a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.