By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Our mind’s eye tends to think of a typical robbery as a person holding up a bank or a convenience station with a gun and asking for all the loot. In reality, the Texas robbery statute is far thinner and believe it or not, some robbery cases can be extremely difficult cases for the prosecution.
Texas Penal Code Section 29.02 governs robbery and under subsection (a), robber is committed where, “…in the course of committing theft as defined in Chapter 31 and with the itent to obtain or maintain control of the property, he; (1) intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or (2) intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.
One main reason why these cases present difficulties to the State is that there is no requirement under the law that the robbery be pre-meditated. In other words, it is a common scenario for a “robber” to be someone that in the course of simple shoplifting gets into an altercation with a shop-owner. So a person who merely intended to shoplift property from a store can walk-out being saddled with a robbery charge! These present the prosecution with headaches because jurors think robbery charges in those circumstances may be a bit harsh.
Aggravated Robbery is committed under Penal Code Section 29.03 and differs from a simple robbery because the victim suffers serious bodily injury or the defendant “use or exhibits” a deadly weapon.
Robbery is a 2nd Degree felony punishable between 2 and 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000; and aggravated robbery is a first-degree felony and is punishable between 5 and 99 years of prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Punishment in these types of cases are often the greatest battles. The Collin County District Attorney’s Office, for example, has policies which do not allow prosecutors to plea negotiate very much and have harsh prison recommendation for first-time defendants.
Getting a lawyer on a robbery case is important for both guilt-innocence and punishment phases of a trial. Having a trial lawyer that knows how to show you as a human to the jury is critical.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice you should consult an attorney.