Robbery by Sudden Snatching under Florida Law
The criminal offense of robbery by sudden snatching under Florida Statute Section 812.131(2)(b) means the taking of money or other property from the victim’s person, with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the victim or the owner of the money or other property, when, in the course of the taking, the victim was or became aware of the taking.
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Florida Statute Section 812.131(2)(b) for Robbery by Sudden Snatching
Under the statutory language of F.S. 812.131(2)(b), the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office must prove the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt at trial:
(a) The offender used any amount of force beyond that effort necessary to obtain possession of the money or other property; or
(b) There was any resistance offered by the victim to the offender or that there was injury to the victim’s person.
Penalties for Robbery by Sudden Snatching
If in the course of committing a robbery by sudden snatching the defendant carries a firearm or other deadly weapon, the robbery by sudden snatching is a felony of the second degree punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
If in the course of committing a robbery by sudden snatching the defendant carries no firearm or other deadly weapon, the robbery by sudden snatching is a felony of the third degree.
Force and Resistance During the Robbery
The crime of robbery by sudden snatching requires that the stolen property must have been abruptly and unexpectedly plucked from the embrace of the person, not from that person’s figurative biosphere. See Walls v. State, 977 So. 2d 802 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008). The statute also requires that the victim must become aware of the sudden snatching while it is under way. See Brown v. State, 848 So. 2d 361 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003).
For example, the courts have ruled that the evidence at trial did not support a conviction of robbery by sudden snatching where the defendant did not take a purse from the victim’s person but, rather, from the victim’s shopping cart or the seat of a car, or a park bench.