A robbery charge is a very serious charge to face. And having criminal history can affect your life well after your legal penalties are over. Even after your release from prison, you could find it challenging to find a job, a place to live or obtain credit. That’s why having a solid defense strategy is vital.
If you’re facing a robbery charge, you must begin your defense strategy as soon as possible to minimize the consequences of the charges and to protect your future. Keep reading to learn about robbery charges in Maryland and some of the most common defenses to robbery charges.
Robbery Charges in Maryland
According to Maryland law, robbery has been committed when someone steals property by use of physical force, intimidation, or threatening to use force with the intention of permanently removing the property from another person’s possession (Md. Ann. Code §3-401). A robbery charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, fines, and restitution to your victim.
In Maryland, armed robbery is a separate crime (Md. Ann. Code § 3-403 ). While the actions are the same as a robbery charge, it is considered armed robbery when the assailant uses a dangerous or deadly weapon such as a knife, firearm, or another weapon that can result in physical injury or death.
You could even be charged with armed robbery if you pass a note claiming that you have a weapon, even if you don’t use it or don’t actually have one with you. Armed robbery charges carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, fines, and restitution.
You have several options for a defense when faced with a robbery charge. Here are some of the most common defenses that may be available to you.
Provide an alibi. You may have been out of town when the crime occurred, or you were at an event and can provide witnesses to corroborate that.
Burden of Proof
When you’ve been convicted of a crime, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you have committed the crime they’ve been charged with.
A conviction can be avoided by successfully attacking the evidence provided by the prosecution or by presenting evidence that undermines the prosecution’s case. This can be accomplished by challenging:
- Eyewitness statements
- Security camera footage presented by the prosecution
- Other evidence presented by the prosecution
If you were intoxicated at the time of the crime, you could use that as a defense. Being intoxicated without your consent or knowledge (involuntary intoxication) could be a valid defense if you can prove that you were intoxicated against your will.
Voluntary intoxication isn’t always an allowable defense, but sometimes the defendant can plead to a lesser charge if the crime occurred while intoxicated. Robbery requires specific intent to use violence to seal someone else’s property. If one is intoxicated, that could render them incapable of forming specific intent. That leaves the question, could the defendant form the necessary intent to commit the crime?
If the defendant was pushed into committing the robbery that they wouldn’t have committed otherwise, they could use entrapment as a defense. It can be challenging to prove entrapment, but if you can prove that the victim instigated the crime with the intent to bring charges against the defendant, you may be able to use this as a defense. However, if the defendant planned on committing the crime to begin with, there is no entrapment defense.
Duress may be a valid defense if the defendant can show that they were forced to commit the robbery by threatening them with bodily injury or death. It can be difficult to prove duress, and, in the past, courts have rejected duress as a defense because there wasn’t an actual fear of bodily harm or the defendant had enough time to avoid committing the robbery without risking injury or death.
This defense is only applicable if you can prove that you are, or believe you are, the true owner of the property that was taken.
Let Jeremy Widder Law Help Protect Your Future
A felony on your record could affect you for the rest of your life, so it’s crucial to know your rights and options. Each case is unique, and an experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can recommend the best type of defense for your case.
At Jeremy Widder Law, a criminal defense attorney in Maryland, we know this can feel like an overwhelming time, and we want to help ease your concern throughout the process. Our goal is to listen to you, advocate for you, and protect your rights and future. We have experience in a wide array of legal practice areas, and we’re ready to help.
Let’s talk. Contact us today for a free consultation.