Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers wanted to address this issue and underscore that the robbery charge filed will be no less serious simply because you didn’t get out of your vehicle.
Robbery is charged under Florida Statute 812.13. There are indeed varying degrees, but it has more to do with whether you used a firearm and your prior criminal history than anything else.
In simple terms, robbery is the taking of money or property from another person with the intent to deprive that person of the property. The primary element that separates burglary from robbery is that when you take this property, you do so by using either force, assault, violence or by subjecting the alleged victim to fear.
If you don’t have a weapon, the crime is punished as a second-degree felony. If you are carrying a gun or some other deadly weapon, the crime will be upgraded to a first-degree felony. The latter carries a potential sentence of life in prison.
According to Broward officials, there were reportedly three in one day on a recent Friday. Officials say drive thru establishments tend to be an easy target, because there is no barrier between the cashier and the suspects. There is easy access to cash, and the robbers are already in the getaway vehicle. Plus, you reduce the number of witnesses when the crime is committed in the drive-thru lane, as opposed to inside the restaurant.
But these individuals also need to be aware that these facilities are often loaded with security cameras. It’s not tough for police to track a vehicle if they can make out the license plate number from the footage.
Some of the more recent cases in Broward include:
–Last month, shortly before 5 a.m., a car pulled up to the window, placed an order and was soon followed by a man who approached on foot with his face covered by a bandana. Fearing a robbery was about to occur, the employee slammed the window shut and locked the door. The man with the bandana got into the vehicle and the two sped off.
–Also last month, a Burger King in Sunrise was held up around 3:30 a.m. when the masked man reportedly grabbed the arm of the person working the drive-thru window, took the cash from the register and then fled.
–Two men and a woman, including a former employee of a McDonald’s, were arrested for a string of armed, drive-thru robberies.
–In May, two masked men robbed a Dunkin Donuts in Delray Beach, at around 9:15 a.m. on a Wednesday.
In Broward County, rates of business robberies has remained about the same overall, with about 330 committed in both 2010 and 2011. Statistics for so far this year aren’t yet available.
A few of these cases have tragically turned fatal.
It’s important to understand that even if you are a passenger in one of these vehicles, you may still be charged with robbery.
If you are charged with a crime in Palm Beach or Broward counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.
Drive-thru robberies ‘a new trend’, Sept. 22, 2012, By Linda Trischitta and Ihosvani Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel
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