If you’ve been charged with a theft charge, such as robbery, you could be facing years behind bars, heavy fines and a felony conviction that will permanently restrict your liberty and employment opportunities. Fortunately, you may be able to avoid all or some of these penalties if you retain the services of a skilled and experienced Lansing robbery attorney. By forcefully advocating for your rights at every stage of the criminal rights process and implementing an aggressive defense strategy, you and your legal team can bring your case to a positive resolution.
Contact our skilled Lansing robbery defense lawyers today at 517-731-0353 to find out how we can help you.
What Does Michigan Law Say About Robbery?
Michigan’s laws are a little confusing when it comes to robbery. The statutes sometimes use old-fashioned terms such as larceny to describe this offense. Larceny is a word inherited from the English common law, which in most jurisdictions has been replaced with its modern equivalent: theft. Other Michigan statutes, however, use robbery to describe the offense.
In general, a robbery is a theft (or larceny) that is committed with the use or threat of force. There are several Michigan laws that apply to robbery:
- Felony larceny (MCL 750.530) – If there is evidence that you used violence or the threat of violence while committing a theft, you may face felony charges carrying a possible 15-year sentence.
- Bank robbery (MCL 750.531) – It’s a felony punishable by life in prison to steal money or valuables from a bank or safe while using force, causing injuries or putting people in fear of injury.
- Carjacking (MCL 750.529a) – If a prosecutor can show beyond a reasonable doubt that you stole a car and in doing so you used force or threats against the driver or the passengers, you will receive a felony conviction carrying a possible life sentence.
- Armed robbery (MCL 750.529) – If you commit a robbery (felony larceny as described in MCL 750.530) while in possession of a dangerous weapon or while making people believe that you have a dangerous weapon, you may receive a possible life sentence. If someone gets seriously injured during the robbery, you will face a mandatory minimum two-year prison term.
Under Michigan law, the use of force doesn’t need to occur exactly at the same of the theft for your crime to be considered a robbery. For instance, you may still get charged with robbery if you allegedly used force while fleeing the scene or attempting to keep the property you stole in your possession.
How Can A Lansing Robbery Lawyer Help?
Before your legal team begins to work on your defense, you can do a lot to help your robbery case by not talking to the police. Whether on the street or in custody, the less you say to the authorities, the better. Few people are able to talk themselves out of an arrest or a criminal charge, but in attempting to do so most people will accidentally give the authorities incriminating statements. If you get arrested or investigated for a robbery, you should assert your right to remain silent, and ask to have your attorney by your side.
Your Lansing robbery attorney will begin by overviewing all of the evidence the prosecutor has against you and asking you about the circumstances of your arrest. The goal at this stage is to determine whether the police gathered evidence, arrested you or detained you in a manner that violated your rights. Any abuse of authority is a serious issue that can sway the outcome of your case. For example, if you made incriminating statements during an illegal arrest, those statements cannot be used against you.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be in your best interest to negotiate with the prosecutor to obtain a beneficial plea agreement. For example, if winning at trial is unlikely, it would be better to avoid the expense of litigation and to accept a plea agreement, which may contain the guarantee of a lenient sentence or a conviction for a lesser charge.
In other cases, however, it will be best to fight your charges at trial. The prosecutor must prove every element of the robbery case beyond a reasonable doubt, which means that you can get an acquittal if your lawyer can show that there is any possibility that:
- You did not commit a theft
- You did not use force or threaten the use of force when committing the theft
- You did not possess a dangerous weapon at the time of the alleged robbery
At DeBruin Law, PLLC, we are proud to stand up for the rights of the criminally accused. At every stage of the criminal justice process – from your arraignment to your sentencing hearing – we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. Every case is different, so to learn more about how we can help you specifically, call us today at 517-731-0353 for a free and confidential consultation.