Robbery typically results from the theft of another person’s property by force or violence or with the threat of force or violence. During a robbery, the perpetrator always uses a weapon or threatens to use one. States like Texas have harsh penalties for robbery charges that may include up to 20 years in prison or probation and fines reaching up to $20,000.
Robbery is a serious crime with severe consequences, but some defenses might be available to you. Therefore, it is imperative that you secure the best criminal defense attorney possible to represent you in your case.
In order to fully understand robbery charges in Texas, it’s helpful to understand criminal law classifications.
Criminal law classifies charges in different ways. A crime can be a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony is further classified as first, second, or even third degree.
Texas classifies robbery as a second-degree felony with a potential of up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. To convict a defendant of robbery, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that while committing theft, the defendant intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to another. The State may alternately prove that the defendant intentionally, knowingly or recklessly threatened the victim or caused the victim to fear bodily injury or death.
A robbery charge is elevated to the first-degree felony of aggravated robbery if the charge includes bodily harm or injury to a victim, a deadly weapon was used or exhibited, or a person over age 65 or disabled was placed in fear of harm or death. Aggravated robbery is punishable by up to ninety-nine years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Robbery Sentencing And Penalties
When a robbery case goes to trial, it is the jury that determines a defendant’s guilt or innocence. The judge is responsible for sentencing the defendant. Robbery penalties are set forth in Texas criminal statutes. Judges rely on the criminal robbery statutes to help in deciding a possible range of punishment.
Judges next look to any aggravating or mitigating factors to determine the exact sentence to put on the defendant. Aggravating or mitigating factors might include the defendant’s age, the existence of prior arrests or convictions, and other details surrounding the case.
Restitution And Other Possible Penalties
In a robbery conviction, there are possible punishments beyond prison, probation, and fines. These may include restitution to the victims or community service. Once again, the judge takes any aggravating or mitigating factors into account when deciding on the exact sentence and related penalties to give a defendant after conviction.
Often, the judge will consider the following:
- The value of the stolen property;
- The degree of violence or intimidation used; and
- The nature of the victim to reach a suitable punishment.
The use of a weapon during a robbery is an aggravating factor, as is a defendant’s criminal record. Mitigating factors might include the return of the stolen property, admission of guilt, or lack of criminal history.
Long-Term Effects Of A Texas Robbery Conviction
There are consequences of a felony conviction beyond a prison sentence, fees, fines, and restitution. These consequences remain in place long after a defendant serves their criminal sentence for the robbery offense.
- A convicted felon may not vote or serve on a jury or grand jury. These rights may be restored by a judge upon successful completion of a felony sentence and probation;
- Individuals who have been convicted of a felony cannot hold an elected public office position. They also cannot possess a firearm for a period of five years following their release from incarceration, supervision, or parole;
- There are employment opportunities that individuals who have been convicted of a felony may not pursue such as auctioneer, insurance agent, dental hygienist, marriage counselor, registered nurse, chiropractor, or psychologist; and
- Non-U.S. citizens may face special consequences related to their immigration status if convicted of or even accused of committing a felony offense. It is very likely that those with no lawful immigration status will face deportation proceedings. Legal residents, or those with green cards, could also be subject to deportation for committing criminal offenses.
An Experienced Houston Criminal Law Attorney Can Help
Rather than face any of these consequences, contact an experienced criminal law attorney in Houston as soon as you learn of your robbery charge. The attorneys at Vinas & Graham have the resources and experience needed to defend your rights. The sooner you seek help, the faster one of our attorneys can start working on a possible defense. Follow and like us on Facebook for other Texas criminal law information.