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Charlotte NC Attorneys at Law
Rosensteel Fleishman

Robbery

Robbery is a theft crime, like larceny, but instead of merely taking property, a person guilty of robbery must take property from the person of another or in another’s presence. The crime of robbery is also punished more severely than larceny. The use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon during the commission of the robbery further aggravates the crime and constitutes an armed robbery. A person charged with a robbery is facing a very serious charge and can receive a punishment of years in jail. An experienced defense attorney will know how the law applies to the facts of your case. Contact Mr. Rosensteel today so that can determine the best course of action for you.

 

Common Law Robbery

Common law robbery is defined as

the taking and carrying away personal property of another from his person or in his presence without his consent by violence or by putting him in fear, and with the intent to deprive him of its use permanently, the taker knowing that he was not entitled to take it.

To prove that a person committed common law robbery, the following elements must be shown:

  • the defendant took property from the person of another or in his presence.
  • the defendant carried away the property.
  • the other person did not voluntarily consent to the taking and carrying away of the property.
  • at that time, the defendant intended to deprive him of its use permanently.
  • the defendant knew he was not entitled to take the property.
  • the taking was by violence or by putting the person in fear.

 

A person who commits common law robbery is guilty of a Class G felony. A Class G felony is punishable by a sentence ranging from eight to 31 months, depending on prior convictions. A person with no prior convictions may receive an intermediate punishment, but a court is permitted to sentence anyone who has committed a Class G felony to active jail time.

 

Armed Robbery

In addition to common law robbery, North Carolina law contains the statutory offense of robbery with a firearm or other dangerous weapon. The use of of firearm or other dangerous weapon while committing a robbery greatly increases the severity of the crime and the punishment received. The armed robbery statute provides that a person commits robbery with a firearm or other dangerous weapon when he “unlawfully takes or attempts to take personal property from another or from any place of business, residence or banking institution or any other place where there is a person or persons in attendance, at any time” while he possesses or uses a firearm or other dangerous weapon and the life of the person is endangered or threatened.

To prove that a person committed armed robbery, the following elements must be shown:

  • the defendant took property from the person of another or in his presence.
  • the defendant carried away the property.
  • the person did not voluntarily consent to the taking and carrying away of the property.
  • the defendant knew he was not entitled to take the property.
  • at the time of taking the defendant intended to deprive that person of its use permanently.
  • the defendant had a firearm or other dangerous weapon in his possession at the time he obtained the property (or that it reasonably appeared to the victim that a firearm or other dangerous weapon was being used).
  • the defendant obtained the property by endangering or threatening the life of the other person with the firearm or other dangerous weapon.

 

A person who commits armed robbery is guilty of a Class D felony. A Class D felony is punishable by a sentence ranging from 38 to 160 months, depending on prior convictions. Anyone who has committed a Class D felony must be sentenced to active jail time.

 

Attempted Armed Robbery

The statutory crime of armed robbery includes not just the completed robbery but also an attempted robbery while using a firearm or other dangerous weapon. A person commits an attempted armed robbery when he “with the requisite intent to rob, does some overt act calculated and designed to bring about the robbery, thereby endangering or threatening the life of a person.”

To prove that a person committed an attempted armed robbery, the following elements must be shown:

  • the defendant intended to rob a person, that is to take and carry away personal property from that person or in his presence without his consent, knowing that he, the defendant, was not entitled to take it, intending to deprive that person of its use permanently.
  • the defendant had a firearm or other dangerous weapon in his possession.
  • the defendant used or threatened to use the firearm or other dangerous weapon in such a way as to endanger or threaten the life of the other person.
  • the defendant’s use or threatened use of the firearm or other dangerous weapon was calculated and designed to bring about the robbery, and came so close to bringing it about that, in the ordinary and likely course of things, the robbery would have been completed had it not been stopped or thwarted.

 

A person who commits attempted armed robbery is punished just as if the robbery had been completed and is guilty of a Class D felony. A Class D felony is punishable by a sentence ranging from 38 to 160 months, depending on prior convictions. Anyone who has committed a Class D felony must be sentenced to active jail time.

 

Taking

North Carolina courts have defined the taking of property as the “severance of the goods from the possession of the owner.” For a person to sever goods from the possession of the owner, he must have the goods in his control “even if only for an instant.”

 

Carrying Away

In both common law robbery and armed robbery, the defendant must carry away the property from the other person. Carrying away does not require a great movement and even the slightest movement is sufficient.

 

Intent to Permanently Deprive

To commit either common law robbery or armed robbery, the defendant must have the intent to permanently deprive the other person of the property. An intent to temporarily deprive is not sufficient.

 

Use of Firearm or Other Dangerous Weapon

Mere possession of the firearm or dangerous weapon does not, by itself, constitute endangering or threatening the life of the victim. Typically, the defendant must display the firearm or other dangerous weapon in a manner which endangers or threatens the life of the victim. In addition, a defendant can threaten the use of a firearm in his possession without displaying it.

 

Dangerous Weapon

A dangerous weapon is a weapon which is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. In many cases, the weapon qualifying as a dangerous weapon is one that we might commonly think of as dangerous, such as a knife. However, North Carolina courts have also held a lawn chair to be a dangerous weapon when the victim was knocked unconscious and suffered multiple facial fractures.

 

Overt Act

To commit the crime of attempted armed robbery, a defendant must do some overt act calculated to bring about the robbery. An overt act goes beyond mere preparation but falls short of the completed crime. It must “stand either as the first or some subsequent step in the direct movement towards the commission of the offense after the preparations are made.”

If you have been charged with robbery, contact an attorney at Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC (704) 714-1450, to discuss your options.