Theft crimes are very common during the holidays and this year was no different. On Christmas Eve, two men allegedly robbed a Lebanon County business. While doing so, one waived a pistol at the cashier while the other emptied the cash register. Law enforcement still has not found the men, but if found, they will likely face charges of armed robbery.
Many people understand that armed robbery charges may involve the use of a weapon. However, they do not know that this offense can also involve more than that. A Pennsylvania robbery lawyer can advise on the different defenses available in armed robbery cases.
Types of Armed Robbery Charges in Pennsylvania
Armed robbery occurs when a person inflicts serious bodily injury upon another person while committing a theft. When a person steals or tries to steal a controlled substance, they may also face charges of armed robbery. Due to the fact that the victim must be in fear of serious bodily harm, a weapon is usually used during the course of an armed robbery.
Strong arm robbery and armed robbery are similar charges. The only difference is that a strong arm robbery offense only requires bodily injury to occur rather than serious bodily injury. Strong arm robbery typically does not involve the use of a weapon or a gun and defendants are not usually accused of pretending to have a weapon.
Defenses to Armed Robbery
In many cases, the best defense to armed robbery is a degradation of the charge. Law enforcement and the prosecution for the state are often overzealous when determining the charges a defendant will face. When that is the case, they charge a person with armed robbery even when it is not appropriate.
For example, a person may push a security guard out of the way when fleeing after committing retail theft. The police may consider that armed robbery due to the threat of injury, even though the charge may not be appropriate. A criminal defense trial can file a motion to reduce the charges, which is sometimes the best defense.
Witness misidentification is also a very common defense in armed robbery cases. When a person is placed in fear of serious bodily injury, they panic and may not remember important details afterward. This is particularly true when the victim does not know the perpetrator. A lineup motion can establish that the witness cannot identify the defendant, although this certainly is not appropriate for all situations.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania Want to Help with Your Case
If you or a loved one has been charged with armed robbery, do not hesitate to call our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, we will advise on the facts of your case and use the available defenses to give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.