Robbery in Florida is a quite common criminal charge that manifests itself in many different situations. Although several different degrees of severity exist for robbery charges in Florida, all of them are felonies, and all of them carry with them quite severe penalties.
The crime of robbery has been present in English common law from almost the beginning. Matthew Hale described the crime of robbery in 1736 as
“the felonious and violent taking of any money or goods from the person of another, putting him in fear, be the value thereof above or under one shilling”
Robbery came to Florida’s laws from English common law. It is currently defined by statute as
- the taking
- of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny
- from the person or custody of another,
- with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property,
- when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.
Robbery in Florida is essentially a hybrid charge that combines theft and assault.
The law on robbery in Florida has several important elements that must be proven by the state to sustain a conviction.
Taking – in Florida, a defendant must be shown to have taken an object from another with out that person’s permission. The object must have been taken from the victim’s person, the victim’s vicinity, or a place under the victim’s control.
Force or threat – Florida law requires that the defendant used force against the victim in order to obtain the object, or the defendant must have intimidated or threatened the victim in a way that caused fear. The force or threat may occur at any point relative to the taking of property, but it must be within the same sequence of events.
Property – In Florida, property must have some value. Even if the value is minimal, for the object to be considered property it must have a value of something greater than zero.
Intent – For a conviction of robbery in Florida, the state must show that the defendant had a specific intent to take control of the property, whether it be permanently or temporarily.
Degrees and Punishment
Florida law differentiates robbery into three broad categories. The first is robbery without a deadly weapon, which is a second degree felony and may lead to a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Robbery with a deadly weapon is a more serious crime, and classified by Florida statute as a first degree felony. A conviction of robbery with a deadly weapon can lead to a prison sentence of up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Robbery that is a home invasion is also a first degree felony, and the degree of felony is the same whether the defendant is shown to have been armed or not – up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.