Oct 19, 2015

Aggravated Robbery

Texas Penal Code §29.02 states that a person may be charged with robbery if they have, in the course of committing theft, caused another person bodily injury or placed them in fear of imminent bodily injury or death either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. This crime is prosecuted as a felony in the second degree.
Section 29.03 further describes aggravated robbery as any act of robbery in which one or more of the following circumstances was present:
  • The offender inflicted serious bodily injury on another;
  • The offender used or presented a deadly weapon;
  • The offender threatened to harm another person who was 65 years of age or older, or was considered to be "disabled".
Aggravated robbery is a more serious offense, and is normally prosecuted as a  first degree felony. Although the severity of most theft crimes directly correlate with the value of the stolen property, this does not apply to robbery. Instead, it only has to be established that the defendant has placed another person under duress with the threat or use of physical force while committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing from the commission of a theft offense,  defined as "...the act of unlawfully appropriating property with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it."

Not all crimes follow the same sentencing guidelines, even if they are considered to be on the same level of severity. However, the Texas Penal Code does outline "ordinary" felony and misdemeanor punishments and under these statutes aggravated robbery is defined as a first degree felony with a sentence of prison for life, or a term of 5 to 99 years.

In order for the state to make a case against you for the crime of robbery or aggravated robbery, they must be able to prove that you had caused or threatened to cause bodily injury to another person during the commission of a theft. If the prosecution is unable to do so beyond a reasonable doubt, a competent criminal attorney may have a good chance of reducing the charges to a lesser offense of theft, which means that the severity of the charges would be based on the value of the property that was stolen. If the property was valued at less than $1,500, the charges may even be reduced to a misdemeanor.

The lawfirm of Parnham and Associates handles offenses charged by both the State and Federal Court systems, nationally and within the State of Texas. Our extensive experience in criminal defense ranges from simple to complex litigation. The firm's extensive experience in criminal defense ranges from simple to complex litigation. If you have been charged with theft or robbery, contact us at (713) 224.3967 for a free consultation.

Oct 15, 2015

Differentiating Between Theft and Robbery

The crimes of theft and robbery are commonly lumped together by most people, since they both involve the unlawful taking of someone else’s property.
Theft simply involves taking something from someone else with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. Embezzlement is a form of theft in which an employee diverts money intended for his employer or other employees for his or her own use. Likewise, fraud is also a form of theft, involving using trickery to permanently deprive someone of his or her property.
Robbery requires both theft and a form of violence or threat of violence used to deprive someone of their property. The most common example of a robbery is a convenience store holdup, in which a robber threatens to shoot a cashier unless the cashier hands over the loot. A person commits robbery if in the course of committing theft and with intent to obtain or maintain control of the property, he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes fear of, or actual bodily injury to another. It is a more severe form of theft because the offender knowingly puts the victim in danger. Employing a weapon as a means of intimidation elevates the crime to aggravated robbery, which is considered a first-degree felony and carries a minimum five-year prison sentence.
An armed robbery charge is one of the most serious charges an individual can face and may be filed in conjunction with illegal possession and/or assault with a deadly weapon charges.
Robbery typically refers to the act of taking property away from another person by the use of force or the threat of force. The average prison sentence for robbery is significantly longer than that for burglary because of the comparative risk and trauma to the victims.
Charges of theft or armed robbery should always be taken seriously since the consequences of a conviction are so severe. Long term loss of freedom, permanent criminal record, and probation are just a few of the many penalties associated with theft and armed robbery charges. Because of the often violent nature of such crimes, prosecutors are notoriously aggressive in their attempts to secure convictions in theft or armed robbery cases.

If you have been accused of a crime, please contact us today for a free consultation with an aggressive and resourceful criminal defense attorney. We will work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Visit robbery-attorney.com or call (713) 224.3967 for more information.

Oct 13, 2015

Theft : Definitions & Ramifications

 A person commits theft under Texas law if the person “unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” (Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 31.03.)
The criminal offense of theft is comprised of three elements: the item involved must have value, there must be intent by the defendant to appropriate the item, and the item must have been appropriated without the consent of the owner.
Like the majority of states, Texas classifies its theft offenses according to the value of the stolen property or services, and in some instances by the type of property that is taken. Theft and larceny encompass a wide range of criminal activity such as shoplifting, the actual theft that takes place during a burglary or robbery, or virtually any non-consensual taking of property from another person or business. Writing bad checks and certain types of fraud may also fall under the classification of theft.
Because the crimes in question are so varied the possible sentences vary widely as well. The average sentence for larceny and theft in the criminal system is just over two and a half years - almost exactly the same as the average sentence for burglary. The average sentences in state courts are somewhat lower.
The largest disparity occurs in the area of motor vehicle theft, where state court sentences average 18 months and federal court sentences nearly 11 years.There are many property crimes that involve the destruction of property rather than theft or intrusion, with arson being considered the most serious of them in most jurisdictions.

The ranges of punishment for any theft allegation are based on the amount of loss or intended loss. For instance, shoplifting of less than $50 is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by fine only. There is then a "Theft Ladder" that ratchets up to felonies as the amount of loss increases. Often, in these cases, the way the government calculates the amount of loss is a matter of contention.
If a person has one prior conviction for any level of theft, any theft that the person later commits in Texas, involving property or services valued at less than $50, will become a Class B misdemeanor rather than a Class C misdemeanor.
If a person has two or more prior convictions for any level of theft, any theft that the person later commits in Texas, involving property or services valued at less than $1,500, will become a state jail felony rather than a Class B or Class A misdemeanor.
In addition to criminal penalties, a person who commits theft (including shoplifting) in the state of Texas may be civilly liable to the theft victim under the Texas Theft Liability Act. The theft victim (i.e. the store owner in a shoplifting case) may recover a monetary award that includes actual damages caused by the theft (such as the retail value of the item if not returned in sellable condition), and a civil penalty of no more than $1,000.
The parent or legal guardian of a minor who commits theft also may be civilly liable under the Texas Theft Liability Act, but monetary recovery is limited to the actual damages caused by the theft, with a cap of $5,000, and no civil penalty is available.

An experienced Criminal Defense attorney is necessary to investigate, evaluate and use the existing Law to mitigate or in some cases, eliminate these numbers.
For more information please visit robbery-attorney.com