Understanding the Law on Armed Robbery in Columbus, Georgia
When charged with Armed Robbery in Columbus, Georgia, you may want legal assistance. The Office of ALJ can provide valuable information and advice. Call today!
Armed Robbery in Columbus, Ga
Armed robbery in Georgia is considered a serious violent crime, along with offenses like murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, or aggravated child molestation. It involves stealing the property of an individual either in their presence or in the presence of another with the use of an offensive weapon or any item resembling an offensive weapon.
As a serious violent crime, the penalties upon an armed robbery conviction are some of the most severe in the Georgia Code. So, if you or your loved one is facing an armed robbery charge in Columbus, Georgia, it is important to fight the charge and establish a suitable serious felony criminal defense where possible. Indeed it could be a matter of life and death.
Elements of a Georgia Armed Robbery Charge
The offense of armed robbery in Georgia has several key elements from the definition in the Georgia Code.
These elements are some of the things that the prosecution would need to establish in court to secure a conviction. They include the following:
That the accused person intended to commit theft or take another’s property: This means that if, for instance, the property in question belongs to the accused person, then the act might not amount to armed robbery.
That the property was taken directly from the owner or in the “immediate presence” of another: The implication of this element is that the physical presence of the property owner or direct victim while the offense took place is not necessary as long as someone else was present when the crime occurred. If no one was there, it might be challenging to establish armed robbery. However, such acts could suffice for other offenses, such as burglary.
However, the requirement of ‘immediate presence’ does not imply that the crime occurred right before the individual. Instead, it means that the suspect or suspects took the property from an area ordinarily under the victim’s control had they not been forcefully restrained.
For instance, in an incident where a suspect robbed a local Dollar General Store with the aid of weapons and locked the employees or shoppers in the bathroom before stealing cash, the requirement of “immediate presence” would have been satisfied even though those present did not directly see the suspect taking the cash.
That the accused person used an offensive weapon or a replica of such a weapon in the commission of the crime: The weapon need not be in working condition. Therefore, if someone uses a faulty or fake firearm to steal, such conduct would likely amount to armed robbery.
Multiple Prosecutions for Armed Robbery and Other Crimes
Sometimes, an armed robbery charge may be merged with another charge if the accused person’s conduct establishes the commission of another crime or felony.
Examples of such situations include:
Felony murder: If a person causes death to another during the commission of a felony or felonies in Georgia, the person has committed murder and may be charged accordingly. For instance, when death results from an accident caused by a getaway vehicle from an armed robbery or from a stray bullet from a gun fired by the suspect, a felony murder has occurred. The suspect, in that case, would likely face an armed robbery charge and a Murder Charge in Columbus.
Carjacking or hijacking a motor vehicle: If a person uses a gun, explosive, or a replica of such devices to rob the occupants of a car on a highway of their personal belongings and also make away with the car, such a person has committed two offenses, and may be charged with both armed robbery and carjacking.
Penalty for Armed Robbery in Columbus, Ga
Armed robbery in Georgia is a serious felony offense and attracts some of the most severe penalties upon conviction, including:
Imprisonment for not less than ten years and not more than 20 years
The Georgia Code also has a special provision for the armed robbery of a pharmacy in which the suspect stole a controlled substance. The punishment, in that case, is imprisonment for a minimum of 15 years.
Besides the above criminal penalties, armed robbery also attracts civil sanctions. An armed robbery convict is not allowed to retain the proceeds or weapons of their crime. Such items are subject to forfeiture under the Georgia Code.
The harmful effects of an armed robbery conviction go beyond the legal penalties and may permanently affect the individual’s life.
An armed robbery conviction becomes part of your criminal record even if you escape the death penalty or complete your jail term. Your identity may also be published on official websites in Georgia, such as the Georgia Technology Authority.
You may also find it difficult to find a job or lead a normal life due to your reputation as a convicted felon.
The only way to avoid all of this is to avoid a conviction. To achieve this goal, you’ll likely need to rely on the professional assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
Why Do You Need an Attorney?
An attorney is of great use in an armed robbery case from the time you get arrested and throughout the trial.
Your attorney can advise and support you as you make your statement before the Columbus police department and ensure you do not make any incriminating statement or divulge sensitive information. Even if pleading guilty is your choice, it is important to consult an attorney to ensure that your decision will lead to the desired outcome.
The police or prosecution could sometimes infringe on your rights in a bid to obtain a conviction at all costs. If you’ve been charged with armed robbery, your lawyer can help assess the circumstances surrounding your arrest and determine whether the proper procedure has been followed, such as whether a valid search warrant was used during the investigation.
Your lawyer can also represent you during your trial and help you establish a suitable defense in court where possible.
Hiring a criminal lawyer in Columbus to work on your case could give you a better chance at avoiding the consequences of a serious or violent felony in Columbus, Georgia. They could help you appraise options available to you and help develop a suitable strategy for your defense.
If you or a loved one is charged with armed robbery or a serious felony, consider contacting us at The Office of ALJ, P.C.. We are here to answer your questions and defend you as best as we can. You can set up an appointment when you call us on 706-641-2551.