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Detroit Robbery Lawyer

In Michigan, the difference between larceny (theft) and robbery is that robbery involves the use or the threat of force. For this reason, robbery is a more serious crime carrying heavier penalties. There are two basic kinds of robbery: unarmed robbery and armed robbery. If you find yourself charged with any type of robbery, you should immediately contact a skilled and experienced Detroit robbery lawyer to help with your case.

These charges are serious, and getting convicted can have serious repercussions. In addition to jail time and possible fines, you may face civil liability, civil restitution penalties, court and attorney’s fees, and collateral consequences such as the inability to pass a background check or to own a firearm.

The Penalties for Unarmed Robbery

If you get convicted of unarmed robbery, Michigan Penal Code section 750.88 and 750.530 states that you will face a maximum prison sentence of fifteen years. To obtain your conviction, the prosecutor will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You committed an assault against the victim, by either doing something that would cause a reasonable person to fear the use of force or actually threatening or using force against the victim
  • At the time of the assault, you intended to take money or property from the victim
  • If you assault the victim before or after taking the property—or even much later if the victim tries to get his or her property back from you—you can still be charged with unarmed robbery.

Armed Robbery Can be Punished By Life in Prison

According to Michigan Penal Code 750.529, you may be convicted of armed robbery if, in addition to the two elements of simple robbery explained above, the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you either:

  • Had a weapon
  • Told the victim that you had a weapon
  • Used an object that a reasonable person would believe was a weapon

The penalty can be a term in prison of any number of years—meaning you could end up spending the rest of your life in prison if convicted.

Defending Against Your Robbery Charges

Every case is different, so the best defense strategy available to you will depend on the exact nature of your charges, the evidence available to the prosecution, and in some cases your criminal history. That being said, a Detroit robbery lawyer will generally attempt to employ some of these defenses:

  • Filing a motion to suppress—this means asking the court to throw out the prosecution’s evidence if its use would violate the rules of evidence or the constitutional rights of the defendant
  • Impeaching the prosecution’s witnesses—before trial, a skilled attorney will take depositions of the arresting officers and other key witnesses and then use cross-examination techniques to get these witnesses to contradict themselves during the trial
  • Offering an alternative version of events—by collecting additional evidence or finding alternative interpretations of existing evidence, your lawyer can present a version of events that casts doubt on the prosecution’s case
  • Obtaining a plea agreement—when it seems unlikely that the above strategies will work well enough to obtain a verdict of not guilty, your attorney can seek to make a deal with the prosecutors for you to obtain a conviction for a lesser offense
  • Fighting for a lenient sentence—if you’re found guilty, your lawyer can present reasons why the judge should give you a light sentence

Maurice Davis practices criminal defense law in Detroit and its surrounding suburbs. If you’ve been charged with robbery, you can call a Michigan criminal defense lawyer from Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.