Under Florida Statute Section 812.13, the criminal offense of robbery involves proof beyond a reasonable doubt of four elements:
- Defendant took the money or property from the person or custody of the alleged victim;
- The property taken was of some value;
- The taking was with the intent to:
- permanently or temporarily deprive the alleged victim of his or her right to the property or any benefit from it; or
- appropriate the property of the victim to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to it; annd
- Force, violence, assault, or putting in fear was used in the course of the taking.
Florida law does not require that the victim of a robbery resists to any particular extent or that the victim offers any actual physical resistance if the circumstances are such that the victim is placed in fear of death or great bodily harm if he or she does resist.
A robbery requires proof of the alleged victim offering some resistance (unless prevented by fear) to make classify the taking as one done by force or violence.
Attorneys for Robbery Crimes in Tampa, FL
If you have been charged with the very serious criminal offense of robbery or home invasion robbery then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
We represent clients charged with robbery throughout Tampa and Hillsborough County, FL.
Contact us to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney for any charge of robbery, home-invasion robbery, robbery by sudden snatching, or strong-arm robbery in Tampa or Hillsborough County, FL.
Our attorneys also represent clients throughout the surrounding areas of St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County, Bartow or Lakeland in Polk County, New Port Richey or Dade City, in Brooksville in Hernando County, FL.
Call (813) 250-0500.
Jury Instructions for Robbery Charges
The standard jury instructions in Section 15.1 provide for various definitions related to the robbery statute. For example the term “in the course of taking” is defined to mean “that the act occurred prior to, contemporaneous with, or subsequent to the taking of the property and that the act and the taking of the property constitute continuous series of acts or events.”
The standard jury instructions also provide an instruction related to the term force which reads: “The taking must be by the use of force or violence or by assault so as to overcome the resistance of the victim, or by putting the victim in fear so that the victim does not resist.”
In cases involving a victim that is allegedly unconscious, the instructions provide that “it is also robbery if a person, with intent to take the property from a victim, administers any substance to another so that the victim becomes unconscious and then takes the property from the person or custody of the victim.”
Definitions Related to Robbery in Florida
The term “title to property” means that in order for a taking of property to be robbery, Florida law provides that “it is not necessary that the person robbed be the actual owner of the property.” Instead, it is sufficient if the victim has custody of the property at the time of the offense.
As to the term “taking” the instructions provide that “[i]n order for a taking by force, violence, or putting in fear to be robbery, it is not necessary that the taking be from the person of the victim. It is sufficient if the property taken is under the actual control of the victim so that it cannot be taken without the use of force, violence, or intimidation directed against the victim.”
The term “dwelling” is defined to mean a building or conveyance of any kind, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the enclosed space of ground and outbuildings immediately surrounding it.
Enhanced Penalties for a Weapon, Deadly Weapon, or Firearm
Under Florida’s robbery statute, certain enhanced penalties apply if the jury finds that the defendant is guilty of the crime of robbery, and further determines beyond a reasonable doubt that “in the course of committing the robbery” the defendant carried some kind of weapon.
Other enhanced penalties apply if the jury finds that the defendant carried a deadly weapon or firearm.
The jury is instructed that an act is “in the course of committing the robbery” if it occurs in an attempt to commit robbery or in flight after the attempt or commission.
Thus, if the jury finds the defendant guilty of robbery, then the jury must also consider whether the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office has further proved those aggravating circumstances which are then reflected in the verdict.
Lesser Included Offense of Robbery
Lesser included offenses to Home Invasion Robbery under Florida Statute Section 812.135 could include:
- Robbery with a weapon – 812.13(2)(b)
- Robbery – 812.13(2)(c)
- Burglary – 810.02(4)
- Aggravated Battery – 784.045
- Battery – 784.03
- Aggravated Assault – 784.021
- Assault – 784.011
- Attempt – 777.04(1)
- Burglary – 810.02(3)
- Trespass – 810.08
- Petit Theft – 812.014(3)(a) or 812.014(2)(e)
A lesser included offense is typically an offense whose elements are entirely contained within the elements of another greater offense. Sanders v. State, 944 So. 2d 203, 206 (Fla. 2006).
For example, theft and robbery both consist of the taking of property of another with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive that person of the property. See § 812.13 and § 812.014, Fla. Stat.).
As explained in McCloud v. State, 335 So. 2d 257, 258 (Fla. 1976), an unlawful taking with intent to deprive is sufficient to prove larceny. Robbery requires, however, that the unlawful taking to occur by “use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.” § 812.13(1), Fla. Stat.
The courts have found that “[a]ny degree of force suffices to convert larceny into a robbery. Where no force is exerted upon the victim’s person, as in the case of a pickpocket, only larceny is committed.” McCloud, 335 So. 2d. at 258-59.
Likewise, in State v. Terry, 336 So. 2d 65, 67 (Fla. 1976), the court held that prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed a robbery, the state must necessarily also prove larceny because every robbery necessarily includes larceny. Therefore, larceny is a necessarily lesser included offense of robbery. State v. Bruns, 429 So. 2d 307, 310 (Fla. 1983).
Statistics for Robbery in Hillsborough County, FL
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office 2018 Fact Book, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) received 1,089 reports of Robbery in 2008 and 351 reports of Robbery in 2017.
For this reason, the reported crimes of robbery have steadily decreased over the past decade. The victimization level has decreased from 1.35 robberies per 1,000 residents to 0.37 robberies per 1,000 residents.
In fact, residents in Hillsborough County, FL, are over three and a half times less likely to be robbed in 2017 than 10 years ago.
Finding an Attorney for a Robbery Charge in Tampa, FL
If you were charged with a robbery charge such as robbery, robbery by sudden snatching, or home-invasion robbery, then contact the attorneys with Sammis Law Firm. We fight for clients charged with robbery and other types of theft crimes in Tampa and Hillsborough County, FL.
Talk with an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm today about the serious criminal offense of robbery, home invasion, or robbery by sudden snatching. We provide free consultations to discuss the charges either on the phone or in the office.
We fight cases in St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County, New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, Lakeland or Bartow in Polk County, or Brooksville in Hernando County, FL.
This article was last updated by Jason D. Sammis on Friday, March 4, 2022.