Unfortunately, Atlanta has long been considered one of the most violent cities in America. Armed robberies are common in our city, ranging from stranger hold-up cases to bank or store robberies to home invasions. Armed robberies are viewed more severely than robberies, because although robberies often involve intimidation or force, armed robberies add an extra level of violence: the presence and/or use of weapons. An armed robbery is a serious, violent felony offense.
What does an 'armed' robbery entail?
Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §16-8-40, an armed robbery is a "robbery committed with an offensive weapon, any replica of an offensive weapon, or a device having the appearance of any such weapon."
If an individual is carrying a weapon, while carrying out a robbery, even if he/she does not use that weapon, police officers, prosecutors and judges are likely to assume that the individual intended on using that weapon. Even if you only put your hand in your pocket and led someone to believe you were in possession of a gun, you could be charged with armed robbery.
What penalties can you expect?
Penalties for armed robbery can range anywhere from a minimum sentence of 10 years to a maximum sentence of 20 years, to life imprisonment, or on rare occasions, the death penalty. Judges have been known to give hard-hitting sentences to armed robbers. In one recent case, a federal judge sentenced two individuals to a 39 year sentence and to a 72 year sentence in prison.
The special agent in charge of this case said, "Without doubt, armed robbery cases can quickly turn into senseless tragedies for a customer, a merchant, a passerby or the responding police officer. Today's sentences send a definite message to those involved that will resonate with them for the many years they will spend in federal prison."
Georgia takes this crime seriously. A second conviction for armed robbery in Georgia brings a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. If you have a felony conviction anywhere else in the United States and are convicted of an armed robbery, you will receive the maximum sentence. Likewise, if you have three prior felony convictions from anywhere in the U.S., you will also have to serve the maximum sentence without the possibility of parole.
Even if you were merely a co-conspirator in an armed robbery, you could face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. In Georgia you can be charged as "party to the crime" of armed robbery even if you did not enter the site of the robbery and were not caught on tape. If you were involved in any way as an active participant to the crime, such as helping case the site, buying the weapons, acting as a lookout or the getaway driver or so forth, you can be charged as an accomplice.
Even innocent individuals who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time can be charged as an accomplice to armed robbery. Georgia takes the act of functioning as an accomplice seriously- even as an accomplice, you can be charged as if you were standing right next to the person with the weapon, carrying out the crime.
How can a criminal defense attorney help you?
In order for you to be convicted of armed robbery, the prosecution must establish that a weapon was intended to be used. A criminal defense attorney can help show that your weapon was never intended to be used. Something such as whether or not your firearm was loaded can have a lot of bearing on your case.
In most cases, an alleged victim or witness will have to pick out the accused from a photo or lineup. If any part of the identification process can be suppressed or if the rights of the accused were violated in any way, then the evidence can be thrown out!
One of the first factors we will seek to determine is whether or not the proper procedures were adhered to, when it came to searching for and confiscating the weapons. If any evidence was obtained illegally, we can file a motion to suppress evidence, which could allow your charges to be reduced from an armed robbery to merely a robbery or larceny. Obviously however, our chief goal would be to get your case dismissed entirely.
It is imperative that you secure competent legal defense immediately, as armed robbery is treated so seriously and as you can incur so many life-altering penalties, if you are convicted of this crime. The Law Office of Matthew T. McNally can help you fight for a case dismissal or reduction of charges. Call the firm immediately for the aggressive representation you need!