When you or a loved one faces robbery accusations under Nevada law, you want to seek legal redress as soon as possible to avoid facing harsh penalties. Working with a criminal defense attorney is essential to increase the probability of having your case dismissed or charges lowered. Your lawyer’s input will propel your argument to a higher level and counter the prosecutor’s evidence accordingly.
When choosing a criminal defense lawyer to represent you, you should prioritize their experience and reliability. The attorney’s goal should be to achieve a positive outcome in your case. At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have fought for hundreds of clients’ rights facing robbery charges. You want to contact us today if you or your loved one faces robbery charges in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Defining Robbery as Provided for in the Nevada Revised Statute
Understanding the legal definition of robbery is paramount, as it includes all the elements of the crime that you will have to counter during the trial. This is because the prosecutor relies on the elements to prove your involvement in the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Hence, the Nevada Revised Statute is the primary reference point in your criminal case.
Under the provision, robbery is defined as taking another person’s property unlawfully and in their presence by using force or invoking fear in the victim. Thanks to the definition, you can understand the elements of crime required before you are found guilty of the crime. In return, you will have an excellent starting point to help you raise defenses.
Elements of Robbery Crime
Under criminal procedure and evidence law, the burden of proof in criminal cases falls on the prosecutor. Moreover, they are held to a high standard of proof, which should be beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, it is essential to understand the various argument tactics applied by the prosecution team to help you prepare. The main elements of robbery are:
You Took the Victim’s Property
Proving the unlawful action in question is often the prosecutor’s starting point, as they often have sufficient evidence to prove it. Therefore, the prosecution team will adduce evidence showing you in action when taking the alleged victim’s property.
The common evidentiary sources presented in court include witness statements, testimonies, and visual evidence. Police reports may also be a useful source of proof, primarily because the statements are taken to be truthful and useful during investigations.
You Used Force or Fear to Take the Victim’s Property
Secondly, the prosecutor must prove that you used intimidation tactics to scare the victim into giving up their property. The action is considered unlawful, as it is often the cause of robbery reports forwarded to the police.
The prosecutor can build on various factors under this element, depending on the case circumstances in the matter. For example, some offenders may use force to obtain property. If so, the prosecutor will demonstrate whether the force was negligible or intense, resulting in injuries to the victim. They should also produce evidence to support their claims for better credibility in the matter.
Alternatively, you may have chosen to invoke fear to the victim to succeed in the crime committed. Typically, the fear of facing injuries or other life-threatening situations is the primary motivating factor for victims to give up their items. Subsequently, the prosecutor will focus on what types of actions you used to drive fear to your victims.
You should remember that the prosecutor is flexible when presenting evidence on this element, as they can conclude different unlawful actions. For example, the prosecutor’s argument will still be in order if they intend to prove that you used force to stop the victim from protecting their property. Similarly, you may have used force or fear only when trying to escape from the crime scene to deter the victim.
You Intended to Deprive the Victim of their Property Permanently
Since robbery is classified as a theft crime, the prosecutor should also prove that you intended to deprive the victim of access to their property permanently. The prosecutor often derives your intention from the circumstances surrounding the case to do this. For example, if you fled the crime scene with the property, it can be fairly assumed that you did not intend to return the property.
Moreover, the actions involved in your robbery should demonstrate disregard to prevailing property rights that encourage respect for ownership rights. Hence, acts like snatching or violently taking the items in question can also demonstrate your intention to deprive the victim of their items permanently.
Defenses Applicable for Robbery
Your criminal defense attorney will have a chance to present on defenses after the prosecutor completes their examination in chief and after they close their case. During these instances, your attorney should take advantage of the court’s audience and prepare adequately to justify your position. While not all defenses may apply to the current case circumstances, the following are possible defenses to a robbery charge:
- You did not take anything from the victim
- You did not intend to deprive the victim of their property permanently
- You were a victim of mistaken facts or identity
- You suffered from temporary insanity or intoxication when committing the offense
Penalties for Engagement in Robbery
After both the prosecution and the defense close their case, the judge will make a final determination. The prosecutor will only win their case if they proved all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Hence, if the judge finds you guilty of robbery, you are subject to the penalties assigned to offenders under the Nevada Revised Statute.
Robbery is classified as a category B offense, which attracts moderate to severe sentences for the guilty party. Therefore, penalties issued for the offense will greatly depend on the nature of your case and whether you used deadly weapons when committing robbery.
For reference purposes, a deadly weapon is defined as any tool or substance that can result in fatalities if subjected to a victim. Thus, items like firearms, explosives, knives and broken glass are dangerous weapons resulting in a sentence enhancement.
If you did not use a deadly weapon when committing robbery, your sentence might range between two to fifteen years in Nevada State Prison.
Nonetheless, the judge may also make a probation order instead of incarceration to give you a chance for rehabilitation. During the probation sentence, you will need to adhere to all court-issued guidelines and orders, including community service programs, attending violence control classes, paying restitution to the victim, and reporting to your probation officer.
On the other hand, offenders who commit robbery using deadly weapons will serve the initial sentence of two to fifteen years and an additional sentence consecutively. This means that once the initial sentence is complete, you automatically begin serving the second one with no chance of release.
Doubtless, this may result in a longer duration behind bars compared to the first instance where you only serve one sentence. Although an enhanced sentence aims to create extra punishment, the judge remains guided by various case factors present in your matter.
Factors the Court Considers Before Issuing an Enhanced Sentence
Apart from using a dangerous weapon when committing robbery, the judge will also consider other factors present in your case for a final determination. They do this to ensure the sentence enhancement is justified, meaning the circumstances of your case made you a suitable candidate for additional punishment.
Whether Your Criminal Record Shows Past Offenses
Typically, first-time offenders will receive more lenient sentences than repeat offenders because of their records. The phenomenon is also backed by several legal statutes and sentencing policies that guide the judge’s final decision.
Hence, a repeat offender will need to justify why the judge should not act based on their past but instead consider the facts in the current case. In this situation, your criminal defense lawyer is the best candidate to present your position on your behalf and persuade the judge to enter the least possible number of additional years.
Despite this, you should remember that the judge applies their discretion to the case and may disregard your attorney’s matter. They often do this if the past offenses included aggravating factors or if the offenses themselves are classified as felonies and are generally regarded as serious:
The Current Circumstances in Your Case
Another important factor to consider is how the facts of your case manifest themselves and in what circumstances they occur. The analysis helps in reaching a better-informed decision and helps you understand why the enhanced sentence included the specified number of years.
Ultimately, the judge relies on the facts and evidence adduced by the prosecutor and the defense attorney. Therefore, it is prudent to ensure you verify the prosecutor’s facts early on during the pre-trial conference to ensure they are not exaggerated or utterly false. Further, your defense lawyer should conduct due diligence and further research on the evidence you rely on during the trial.
If the judge finds that the facts and case circumstances in question are incriminating, they will be motivated to enhance the sentence severely. Conversely, having less serious case circumstances attracts leniency from the judge.
Whether the Case Circumstances Presented Any Mitigating Factors
On top of checking the nature of your offense and the circumstances surrounding your unlawful actions, the judge ought to check for any mitigating factors in your case. This is almost similar to justifying your behavior or highlighting that your actions did not pose any real threat to the victims. However, the judge does not interpret it as a defense or a green light for committing robbery. Instead, they will only use the mitigating factors to decide how to assign the sentence enhancement.
For example, your lawyer may highlight this as a mitigating factor if you carried a dangerous weapon when committing robbery but did not use it on the victim. The case circumstances will demonstrate your ability to control yourself and change your line of thought in harming the victim.
Mitigating factors should not be contradictory to facts in the case, as they might raise additional issues during sentencing. Ultimately, you may end up receiving a harsher sentence, especially if the judge discovers an attempt to deceive the court.
The Outcome of Your Actions to the Victim
Naturally, the judge will also consider the kind of impact you left on the victim of robbery before creating additional provisions for an enhanced sentence. Thus, the victim’s testimony plays a significant role in the outcome, as it is a major reference point when considering this element.
Usually, most victims will state that their psychological and emotional health suffered after your attack, resulting in the need for professional assistance in recovering. Although the claims are justified, the judge will exercise discretion in giving the audience to the allegations. However, the victim can provide medical records to show treatment administered for the psychological effects.
On the other hand, a victim who suffered physical harm and had to receive extensive medical treatment will significantly impact your sentence enhancement. This stems from your unlawful actions’ visible and justified impact demonstrating your guilt. Consequently, you are more likely to face a harsher enhancement than other instances.
However, you should note that the outcome may be in your favor, whereby the judge enhances the initial punishment by the minimum possible number of years. This will occur if the elements discussed above were absent, meaning you committed the offense to the least severe degree. As a result, you can enjoy the shorter sentence and have a chance for early release compared to other offenders.
Your criminal defense attorney should be prudent in providing a strong mitigating statement when the opportunity arises to request leniency. If so, the court may be persuaded to decide differently and reduce the additional number of years despite indulging in several of the discussed elements.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Doubtless, facing robbery charges can attract serious consequences if found guilty. You risk spending a significantly long time in prison on top of missing out on many other opportunities. Therefore, you want to find and work with an experienced legal team to help you prepare the best defenses for your case.
Your attorney’s input and support will play a pivotal role in pushing for a positive case outcome by countering the prosecutor’s argument. With the help of The Law Offices of Martin Hart, you can access high-quality criminal defenses available to clients facing robbery charges in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thanks to the advice and support you receive, you can persuade the judge of your innocence or to lower your charges. For more information on how to defend a robbery crime charge, contact us today at 702-380-4278.