The role of the jury in criminal cases is to determine whether a defendant is guilty or innocent. The role of the judge is to pass out the sentence in case one is guilty. The criminal statutes that are applicable in that context and state inform the decision that the judge will make. One should get a criminal defense attorney as soon as they are charged because no defendant can claim to understand every charge conclusively.
These criminal statutes have a section that suggests the punishment depending on the crime. The punishment can include a range of years and the specified maximum and minimum sentences that the defendant will receive. The judge will take into account the age of the defendant and if they have a criminal record when deciding upon the punishment.
The law is specific on the minimum and a maximum term of imprisonment in New York. The judge has to select the penalty that is far from the range. The minimum term is one year in second-degree robbery cases while the maximum term is fifteen years.
Statutes usually specify other forms of punishment that are applicable in less serious cases. These include restitution, community service, and fines. One has the alternative of performing community service if they are unable to pay restitution.
The value of the stolen property and the level of violence used will be taken into account by the judge in a robbery case. The judge will also consider the nature of the victim because it will help them to understand more about the offender.
Robbery with violence will attract a serious charge because it is considered to be aggravated assault. The use of a weapon is not considered a separate crime in some jurisdictions. It influences the punishment. The presence of a weapon will lead to the lengthening of the sentence of the defendant.
Mitigating factors reduce the severity of the crime and the accompanying punishment. One could look at whether the defendant took responsibility for the crime and whether they returned the property that they stole. It can be considered to be a mitigating factor if the defendant has no prior record.
Defendants in robbery cases have several options when mounting a defense.
The burden is on the government to prove that the accused committed the crime beyond reasonable doubt in criminal trials. A robbery offense is a criminal case. The defendant has to make sure that this is not so. The defendant can do this by offering evidence that disproves the argument of the prosecution. They can also attack the evidence that the prosecution uses in the case. Alibis are very important in a robbery case because the basis of the case is in the presence of the accused at the scene of the crime. One can offer evidence showing that they were at some other place by providing witnesses. One can challenge video footage and eyewitness testimonies if they are not clear. The accused can be acquitted if the jury is doubtful of the argument proposed by the prosecution.
A complete defense to the robbery charges can be established if one shows that they were forced by another party to commit the crime. This could be because they were threatened with bodily harm or death. Proving this can be very difficult. It has been rejected many times by courts. This is if the fear of harm was minimal or if the defendant had an opportunity not to commit the crime without the risk of injury.
An entrapment defense can be used if someone pushed the defendant into committing the robbery. These defenses are very difficult to prove, but they are relevant. The responsibility of the defendant is to show that the victim instigated the robbery so that they could bring charges against them. This argument is rendered invalid if the defendant had any intent to commit the robbery. This is so even if other parties commit robbery so that they can doctor evidence against the accused.
Proof of intoxication is considered to be an affirmative defense when used on a robbery charge. Affirmative defense is where any one of the elements of the robbery cannot be proved.
A voluntary intoxication defense is only applicable in certain states. The charges will not be dropped, but one will be required to plead to a lesser charge. Robbery involves intent to steal someone’s property using violence. The court has to establish whether the defendant had the required intent to commit the crime if one is intoxicated. This is where affirmative defense applies because the intent cannot be determined conclusively. The defendant will be convicted on lesser charges if this is established because the threshold for intent is considerably low.
A defendant could be excused from criminal behavior if their intoxication was not a result of their actions. One has to show that they became intoxicated without their knowledge or they were forced into it.
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