Armed Robbery Versus Robbery: What is the difference?

Posted by on Aug 25, 2017 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

While television shows and movies about police and police procedurals seem to be on nearly every network (and the countless spinoffs and reboots seem to constantly overwhelm our screens), there is little in the way of actual facts in these shows. Instead, we are treated to dramatic readings of suspects’ Miranda Rights, but there is usually little payoff in the way of actual laws and legal procedures.

Perhaps people don’t want to know the difference between legal criminal statutes? Maybe I’m the only one who wants to know the difference between armed robbery and regular robbery? Living in Wisconsin, crimes in our area are not featured on TV as much as New York City or L.A., although we did get quite a boost by the Netflix show “Making a Murderer” if you can call that a “boost”. Attorneys in the state, like the firm Kohler & Hart, that help people with armed robbery defense in Milwaukee, definitely know the difference between the types of criminal statutes.

When it comes to the specific criminal statutes, you often are left to wonder, “what is the difference?” One specific crime that seems simple but is often not clearly explained is the difference between “armed robbery” and “robbery”. How does this work?

While it is true that armed robbery charges require the use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon, most of us assume that that weapon always has to be a gun, knife, or bat, or some other obviously threatening device. What many of us don’t know is that other items, like pepper spray, for example, might also be classified as a weapon and therefore warrant an armed robbery charge. The breaking point here is whether or not the victim in the crime felt that the article the “robber” used was used or displayed in a manner that the victim could reasonably have felt like they were in danger.

In order to constitute armed robbery, something has to have been stolen. The act of theft must play a part in the act somehow. Theft, by definition, is the taking of someone’s personal property with the intent to deprive them of it, which allows for borrowing to be legal, obviously. The next factor must be the use of force during the theft. Without force, it would simply be theft, but the physical act of touching another person or verbally threatening them constitutes robbery. Finally, the use or displaying of a weapon must be shown to raise the charges to armed robbery. Now, the important thing to note that was not discussed above, is the pretense of having a weapon (like implying that you have a gun) is also enough to warrant the armed robbery charge. Other items, like the pepper spray listed above, as well as pellet guns, bottles, broken glass, or other threatening items can also be considered weapons.

It is a shame that more information is not readily available to the public about the different types of criminal charges. For one, people would understand the false information they read or hear about through books, TV, and other medium, and if they are ever in trouble with the law (which hopefully won’t happen) they will be more familiar with the charges they may face.

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Statutory Rape and the “Close in Age Exemptions”

Posted by on Jun 24, 2017 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Statutory rape is a non-violent sexual activity between an adult (a person who is at least 18 years old) and a person below the legal age of consent (a person below 16 or 18 as states differ when it comes to age of consent). Though different from forcible rape which is non-consensual and which is usually accomplished through the use of force and/or weapon, statutory rape is still considered a serious crime in many jurisdictions in the U.S.

The crime of statutory rape can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the ages of the victim and the perpetrator. This offense carries very harsh punishments, including really large fines, years in jail and, in many states, a mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender. While it is true that statutory rape statutes only aim to protect minors from sexual predators, it also cannot be denied that many of these statutes have unintended consequences due to their many legal gray areas. One example is charging with statutory rape two teenagers who engage in consensual sex simply because both are just 15 years old. Though underage, they can both be convicted and possibly be required to register as sex offenders for life.

To save many teenagers from statutory rape prosecution and conviction, many states have passed the “close in age exemptions,” a law that will not criminalize: (i) two individuals under the age of consent if they have sexual relationship with one another; or, (ii) an older individual who has a sexual relationship with a person who is under the age of consent. There is a limit in this “close in age exemption,” though.

a. In some states, where the age of consent is 18, for example, a person who is either 16 or 17 years old is still legally allowed to consent with an older partner, so long as this partner is under the age of 30.

According to the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, in the state of Texas, statutory rape is the charge issued against individuals accused of engaging in sexual activity with an individual under the age of 17 if that individual is more than three years older than the minor in question. Statutory rape is considered a 1st degree felony if the minor is under the age of 14, and a 2nd degree felony if the minor is under the age of 17. The 1st degree felony charge carries a potential prison sentence of 5 to 99 years, while the 2nd degree felony charge can result in 2 to 20 years in prison.

b. Marriage exemption. This allows a young individual to consent, but only to his or her spouse

c. Close in age exemption of four years. A person under the age of consent can have consensual sex with an older person who in no more than four years older than him or her. This means that minors below the age of 16 may consent to a partner who is no more than 4 years older; however, those under the age of 12 may not consent under any circumstances.

There are instances, however, when a person had reason to believe that the one who consents to him or her is over the age of consent when, in fact, he or she is not. This may be due to a fake I.D. or the person lied about his or her age. Whatever the case, anyone charged with statutory rape should understand that this is one serious offense that can ruin many years of his or her future if he or she is convicted. A conviction will require that his or her name, current address, and picture be displayed in the Internet, that is, registered into the national sex offender registry, for all to see.

The law firm Horst Law explains that simply being accused of a crime can change your life. The penalties of a conviction can haunt you for years after you’ve served your sentence and may affect what kinds of jobs you’re able to obtain and even where you’re allowed to live. However, it’s important to remember that an accusation is just that: an accusation. You still have a real chance to defend your rights and protect your future from the challenges that would come with a conviction. You still have a real chance to defend your rights and protect your future from the challenges that would come with a conviction, such as jail time, fines, or having to register as a sex offender.

 

 

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