It’s always hard for people facing criminal charges in Georgia, but things can be worse for people who were arrested in connection with an alleged crime that got a lot of attention. These people may feel that everyone they meet has already made up their minds about their guilt. It can feel humiliating, and may even harm their ability to get a fair trial.
Recently, a man and woman were arrested and now face attempted armed robbery charges following an incident that received a lot of media attention.
According to news reports, armed customers apprehended a man and woman after they said the man was trying to rob a gas station at gunpoint. The customers also stopped the man’s wife, who was allegedly waiting in their car for him.
In a sensationalistic detail, many news organizations stated that the man was wearing women’s underwear over his face in an apparent attempt to conceal his identity.
Understanding robbery charges
Under Georgia law, theft charges come in several forms. A particularly serious form is armed robbery.
Theft is the unauthorized taking of another person’s property with the intent of keeping it. Robbery charges are more serious because they require that the theft was accomplished with violence or the threat of violence. Armed robbery charges are more serious still because they require that the defendant used a weapon in the robbery.
Anyone convicted of armed robbery can be sentenced to 10-20 years in prison under Georgia law. The minimum sentence is 15 years for those convicted of taking a controlled substance in the course of a robbery.
Certain types of robberies fall under federal law, in which the penalties can be more severe. These include robberies of banks, post offices, certain types of robberies of motor vehicles and more.
As noted above, robbery involves the theft of property with the use or threat of force. If the defendant doesn’t take any property, then, technically speaking, there was no robbery. However, people can be charged with attempted robbery if they took affirmative steps to complete the crime.
In other words, if you simply imagine robbing a gas station, you have not broken the law. However, once you start taking steps toward committing the robbery, you have arguably broken the law. These steps may include purchasing a weapon for use in the robbery, planning for the robbery with accomplices and everything up to actually taking property from the gas station. What matters is that you had the intent to commit the crime and you took steps to achieve it.
In some cases, defending against this type of charge can involve arguing around that idea of intention.
These cases can be difficult, and especially so when the story behind them has received a lot of media attention. Experienced lawyers help defendants understand their options.