Understanding Las Vegas Robbery Charges
According to NRS 200.380, robbery is defined as the unauthorized seizure of somebody else’s property from their person or in their presence using intimidation, forcefulness, violence, or threats of harm – either present or future – against them personally and/or their family members and companions at that moment. In other words, it entails an unlawful taking without consent while being aware thereof. This offense typically involves employing fear tactics for its successful execution.
Robbery is a distinct crime from theft offenses like burglary. Robbery is more than just an illegal taking of property—it’s a “crime against the person.” This can take many forms, such as typical street muggings, where force or threat thereof is used to acquire goods or facilitate escape. Burglary differs in that it primarily involves theft without harm inflicted on another person.
It is not necessary for a threat to be against the actual victim of a robbery in order for criminal charges to apply. Rather, if someone reasonably feels threatened by threats made towards an acquaintance or onlooker present during the incident, they may feel compelled to relinquish their possessions as part of the robbery. In Nevada, armed robbery–which requires any type of weapon is involved but does not always necessitate injury or use of said weapon–is classified as a very serious offense that results in a severe penalty and lengthy prison terms.
Definitions for Robbery & Theft Crimes In Nevada
- Robbery – Robbery is defined as the use of violence or intimidation to forcefully take possession of someone else’s property. No weapons are necessary; it can involve anything from verbal threats to physical harm with hands and fists.
- Robbery With The Use Of A Deadly Weapon – Utilizing firearms or blades to carry out a robbery elevates the offense to an aggravated, or armed, robbery.
- Auto Theft/Carjacking – In Nevada, while carjacking is not a specific offense in itself, it falls under the grand larceny of a vehicle. If any force or violence was used during the incident, then robbery charges are added to the case. Should there be evidence of weapons being involved, even more, serious aggravated robbery charges will follow suit. Furthermore, assault and/or battery against the victim may heighten these penalties further still.
- Burglary – Defined by the entry into any home, business, structure, vehicle, plane, or rail car with the intent to do any of the following: commit larceny or grand larceny, commit assault or battery on a person, commit any felony, or obtain money or property by false pretenses.
- Grand Larceny – According to NRS 205.220, grand larceny is defined as “Intentionally steals, takes and carries away, leads away, or drives away: Personal goods or property, with a value of $650 or more, owned by another person.” In Las Vegas, some of the more common types of grand larceny involve stealing, taking, leading away, or driving away another person’s property without his or her consent.
- Petit Larceny – Unlawfully having possession of another person’s property, with the aim to deny them access or ownership thereof, is a punishable offense.
- Shoplifting – Depending on the amount of merchandise taken and the accompanying circumstances, this act of theft could be considered larceny or grand larceny. By evaluating these factors, we can accurately determine how to address each instance accordingly.
Committing robbery is a serious form of theft and can result in hefty consequences if convicted. If weapons were used or people were injured during the offense, legal charges such as assault, illegal possession of a deadly weapon, and armed robbery may be filed. The ramifications of these accusations are severe; thus it’s recommended to seek aid from an experienced Las Vegas robbery lawyer if you face any type of theft crime in Las Vegas.
Essential Elements Of Robbery Charges
In order for the state of Nevada to conclusively demonstrate an individual is guilty of committing a robbery, it must show that beyond any reasonable doubt the following elements are present:
- Unlawful taking of personal property occurred.
- The taking was from the person of another, or in the person’s presence.
- The taking was against the person’s will.
- The taking as by means of force or violence or fear of injury, immediate or future.
- The means of force, violence, or fear of injury was directed at the person or property, a member of the person’s family, or anyone in the person’s company at the time of the alleged robbery.
Force, violence, or the threat of injury constitutes a taking if used to acquire another person’s property, resist opposition against such acquisition, and/or facilitate escape. These actions are meant to intimidate an individual into submission so that their possessions may be taken without permission.
Penalties For Robbery Charges In Las Vegas
Nevada law distinguishes robbery as a Category B felony, with the severity of the punishment contingent on whether or not tear gas or a deadly weapon was used. Often referred to as aggravated robbery or armed robbery, any object that could result in death is classified as a ‘deadly weapon.’ Examples of deadly weapons include:
- Firearms, such as pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns
- Knives, such as dirks, daggers, machetes, and switchblades
- Throwing stars
- Broken glass
In the state of Nevada, robbery without the use of tear gas or a deadly weapon can result in 2 to 15 years of imprisonment. The judge has the option to grant probation or suspend the sentence; however, if these weapons are used during a robbery offense, an additional prison term between 1 and 15 is mandated consecutively with any other sentence imposed – thus not allowing for suspension nor probation consideration. When determining this extra penalty length, five factors come under review by judges:
- The facts and circumstances of the case;
- The defendant’s criminal history (if any);
- How the robbery impacted the victim (such as post-traumatic stress);
- Any mitigating factors (facts that make the defendant less blameworthy, such as having a rough childhood); and
- Any other relevant information
Enhancement Of Sentence For Use Of Weapon
Where the record affirmatively disclosed that the defendant was fully and correctly advised as to the weapon-enhancement provision as well as the range of possible sentences that could be imposed, his plea was not subject to challenge because in agreeing to a guilty plea for “armed robbery,” he thought he was pleading guilty to a single offense when he was, in effect, pleading guilty to two separate offenses, robbery (this section) and use of a weapon in the commission of a crime (NRS 193.165), since NRS 193.165 does not create a separate offense but rather provides for an enhancement of the sentence when a weapon is used. Boyle v. Warden, Nev. State Prison, 95 Nev. 888, 603 P.2d 1068, 1979 Nev. LEXIS 684 (Nev. 1979).
Using a blank gun in the commission of the robbery was sufficient to support the weapons enhancement penalty. Anderson v. State, 96 Nev. 633, 614 P.2d 540, 1980 Nev. LEXIS 670 (Nev. 1980).
Defenses To Robbery Charges In Las Vegas
Just because you’ve been accused of robbery does not mean that there is no hope. At the Spartacus Law Firm, our experienced Las Vegas robbery attorney has had success constructing defense strategies to reduce or even refute the charges against their clients. Some of these approaches may include:
No Force Or Fear
For an act to be deemed a robbery, it must involve the use of violence, force, or instilling apprehension in the victim. However, if the property was taken without applying intimidation tactics then typically larceny is charged instead.
Intention To Take Property
For a person to be held responsible for the robbery, it must be demonstrated that they had the purposeful intent of taking someone else’s property while utilizing violence or intimidation. Without this intention, robbery charges in Las Vegas may not stick especially if you can build a defense proving this.
The Property Must Be Taken Against A Person’s Will
Should someone lack any evidence of possession or ownership, they have the right to dispute this allegation. If the property was not taken against another’s will, robbery charges may not be valid. A Las Vegas robbery lawyer can help prove this with the right evidence.
Masking their identity, criminals often make it difficult for witnesses to give a detailed description of the crime which can put prosecutors in an unfavorable position if they are unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the act. As such, dismissal or pleading guilty to lesser charges may be viable alternatives.
People wrongfully charged with all types of offenses are not uncommon, whether caused by a need for vengeance or misidentification. To protect themselves and their rights, defendants should seek the counsel of an experienced Las Vegas robbery attorney who will comprehensively review documents like witness testimonies and forensic data to build a solid defense case.
Striking A Prior
If one has a prior plea or conviction for robbery, there is a potential that the prior could be removed due to insufficient representation of counsel. Our robbery defense lawyer in Las Vegas can help you explore all of your options and determine the best path forward for your defense.
Force Or Fear Of Injury In Robbery Cases
The courageousness or timidity of a robbery victim is irrelevant; it is the acts of the accused which constitute an intimidation. The standard is objective; if the fact be attended with circumstances of terror, such threatening word or gesture as in common experience is likely to create an apprehension of danger and induce a man to part with his property for the safety of his person, it is robbery. Mangerich v. State, 93 Nev. 683, 572 P.2d 542, 1977 Nev. LEXIS 663 (Nev. 1977).
Showing Of Actual Fear Is Not Required
Robbery is a felonious and violent taking away from the person of another, goods or money to any value, putting him in fear; it is not necessary to prove actual fear, as the law will presume it. Hayden v. State, 91 Nev. 474, 538 P.2d 583, 1975 Nev. LEXIS 676 (Nev. 1975).