Defendants may feel confused about the charges they face. Even at an arraignment, the accused might not understand why they face certain charges. Iowa statutes spell out crimes in detail, but the average person might not know what the law says. Knowing the law is essential to understanding charges, as the statutes explain what elements become necessary for a specific crime. Robbery, for example, has different components than burglary or other property crimes.
The elements of robbery charges
Robbery is a type of theft, which means robbery serves to deprive another person of property with no intention of returning it. Unlike other forms of theft, robbery involves violence or the threat of violence to achieve an end. Someone who uses a knife or firearm to steal someone’s money or property commits armed robbery.
Threatening to harm someone unless the person hands over money is also robbery. A suspect may lie about having a weapon but bluffs a victim into becoming too scared to resist. Such behaviors won’t likely garner sympathy from a judge or jury. Ultimately, threats are a form of violence that does not become physical.
Suspects face robbery charges
Although threatening violence to commit a robbery is a serious crime, using an actual weapon could be an aggravated crime that leads to a harsher sentence. Still, someone who “only” uses threats to commit a robbery may face prison time.
A criminal defense strategy may look at the specifics of the alleged crime. A panhandler who asks for money could be falsely accused of robbery. Eyewitness testimony or video footage might prove the accused’s versions of the events.
When evidence points to guilt, a defendant may prefer a plea bargain arrangement rather than a jury trial. Perhaps pleading guilty to lesser charges or agreeing to plead guilty to two charges while other charges receive dismissals might lead to preferable sentencing.