Robbery Charges in Edmonton – Get a Lawyer
Robbery is included in the parts of the Criminal Code that deals with offenses against rights of property. It is usually considered a very serious crime. It is punishable by as much a life imprisonment, although usually sentences are not this severe. Nonetheless, if you have been charged with robbery you are going to need a good criminal lawyer to help you.
Using a firearm or other weapon during the commission of a robbery is a seriously aggravating factor and there are special sections of the code that deal with those situations.
Robbery vs. Theft
Speaking very generally, “theft” is the taking of someone else’s property, whereas robbery is the taking of someone else’s property coupled with the use or threat of force. The section of the Criminal Code that defines robbery is awkward, but it includes terminology such as “violence or threats of violence to a person or property” and “wounds, beats, strikes or uses and personal violence to that person” and “assaults any person with intent to steal” and “steals . . . while armed with an offensive weapon or imitation thereof” and so on.
Robbery is set out in section 343 of the Criminal Code.
343. Every one commits robbery who
(a) steals, and for the purpose of extorting whatever is stolen or to prevent or overcome resistance to the stealing, uses violence or threats of violence to a person or property;
(b) steals from any person and, at the time he steals or immediately before or immediately thereafter, wounds, beats, strikes or uses any personal violence to that person;
(c) assaults any person with intent to steal from him; or
(d) steals from any person while armed with an offensive weapon or imitation thereof.
Violence and Threat of Violence
A theft must involve violence or a threat of violence to be considered a robbery. According to the definition, if a person has ‘assaulted’ the victim during the theft in any way, it would constitute violence hence it would be considered a robbery. It is not necessary that any physical harm or injury actually be suffered by the victim in order to constitute an assault.
Whether a particular set of words were meant as a threat of violence is determined keeping the circumstances of the case in mind. There are various factors which can be taken into account by the court, including the tone of voice employed by the accused when saying those words. The appearance of the accused person can also be an important factor when determining whether or not there was a threat of violence. A man with a squeegee who offers to wash your window may be offering a service, but he may also be a robber depending on all of the circumstances.
Theft or Robbery
As a theft conviction is considered less serious than a robbery conviction, it sometimes happens that a plea bargain is entered into, whereby the accused pleads guilty to a theft charge rather than proceeding with a trial on a robbery charge.
Some of the variations on straightforward theft or robbery charges can include:
- Theft by bailee
- Theft of testamentary instrument
- Theft of cattle
- Credit card theft
- Importing property obtained by theft
- Theft of money upon sale of land under direction
- Theft of telecommunication
- Causing death while committing robbery
The actual penalty imposed is always for the court to pronounce, but there are some prescribed penalties and minimum sentences decreed for robbery. In all situations a person can be sentence for up to life imprisonment.
An aggravating factor is if a weapon was used during the robbery. If so, the sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code call for a minimum sentence of 4 years imprisonment. More serious penalties are imposed for subsequent offenses.
Even more serious consequences can result if an accused uses a prohibited or restricted firearm in the commission of an offense if the offense was committed for the benefit of, or at the direction of, or in association with, a “criminal organization” and such offenses can attract penalties of up to life imprisonment and have a minimum sentence in some situations of 5 years, even for a first offense. Robbery is a serious charge with serious consequences.
Theft can be serious, or not so serious, depending on the circumstances. But any theft conviction is serious in that it results in a criminal record and demonstrates a propensity toward dishonesty that can really hinder a person in terms of employment and many other facets of life. Everyone should try and keep their criminal record free of all convictions.
Almost all robbery charges are quite serious and people can go to jail for years on robbery convictions. But an accused is considered innocent until proven guilty and there are legal rights given to accused people under the law that can be protected by having an experienced lawyer help you through the process. Not every charge results in a conviction and criminal record. Call Geoff Green today – he can help you. You don’t have to do this alone.
Geoff Green – Criminal Defence Lawyer For Alberta
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