Recently, a man was about to walk into his home late at night when he was attacked by two men. They were after the $11,000 in cash the man had in his backpack, money that was going to be used to take his family on vacation. The man’s video surveillance system caught the whole thing on tape, but the suspects have not yet been found. If they are, they will face strong-arm robbery charges. So, what is strong-arm robbery in Pennsylvania?
Defining Strong-Arm Robbery
Strong-arm robbery is a type of larceny, or theft, charge in which the accused causes bodily injury, or threatens to cause bodily injury. There is no requirement that the injury or threat be severe. This is what separates strong-arm robbery from other types of robbery in the state. Typically, there is also no weapon used in the offense.
For example, a person could want to rob someone else. They may punch the person and not cause serious bodily harm before stealing money from the person and leaving. This would be strong-arm robbery. However, if that same person threatened to kill the victim if they did not hand over their money, that would increase the charge to first-degree robbery, because the threat involved serious bodily harm.
Although it is a lesser charge than first-degree robbery, strong-arm robbery still comes with a penalty of up to ten years in state prison for those convicted.
Defenses to Strong-Arm Robbery
Like all offenses, there are defenses to strong-arm robbery and one commonly used is that the accused is innocent of the charges. The prosecution has the burden of proof to show that the defendant committed the crime, and they must prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a high burden of proof and a defense attorney can refute the prosecution’s arguments to create reasonable doubt and show that the accused is innocent of the crime.
Intoxication cannot typically be used as a defense in Pennsylvania if it’s voluntary intoxication. That is, if the accused knowingly and willingly became intoxicated, they are still responsible for the actions they take. However, if someone became involuntarily intoxicated because someone slipped something into their drink or otherwise gave them a substance without the accused’s knowledge, that can also serve as a defense.
Lastly, if the accused was placed under duress to commit the crime, that is also an effective defense. Duress is when a person threatens death or bodily harm to another person if that person does not perform certain actions, such as robbing someone.
Facing Robbery Charges? Call Our Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been accused of robbery, you know there’s a lot on the line. You need a proper defense that will help you beat the charges and retain your freedom. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, we are the Allentown criminal defense attorneys that can provide it. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of those that have been accused, and we’ll also prepare a solid defense to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at 215-515-6892 to learn more about how we can help.