Avvo Rating badge
NACDL badge
Martindale-Hubbell badge
Avvo Rating badge

Robbery By Sudden Snatching

St. Petersburg Criminal Attorneys Defending Your Rights

Robbery and armed robbery are serious criminal offenses that often involve violence and victims who suffer severe emotional distress as a result of the criminal acts. These types of offenses are treated seriously by police, prosecutors and judges, and convictions often result in lengthy prison sentences along with other criminal penalties. Society as a whole has a desire to both punish people who commit such crimes and to dissuade potential defendants from committing those same crimes in the future. At the same time, the powers that be have realized that not all robberies are equal and that some are significantly less serious than others.

These less serious robbery offenses often fall under the umbrella of “robbery by sudden snatching.” Robbery on its own is a second degree felony for which a defendant can receive a sentence of up to fifteen years in prison. Armed robbery is a first degree felony punishable by thirty years in prison and life in prison if the defendant was armed with a firearm. The legislature has recognized that robbery by sudden snatching occupies a less serious type of robbery and has assessed less serious penalties. Even though it is considered a less serious offense, anyone charged with robbery by sudden snatching should immediately endeavor to retain a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer to help build their defense.

Elements of Robbery by Sudden Snatching

Robbery by sudden snatching is a surprisingly complex law. The law was enacted to fill the gap left by the robbery statute for property takings that did not involve fear or violence. One of the key elements to robbery or armed robbery is the use of fear, violence or intimidation to facilitate the taking of someone else’s property. Defendants were getting off of robbery charges when their lawyers began to exploit this gap in the law, so naturally the legislature decided to plug the hole with an additional robbery by sudden snatching statute.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 812.131 Robbery by sudden snatching “means the taking of money or other property from the victim’s person, with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the victim or the owner of the money or other property, when, in the course of the taking, the victim was or became aware of the taking.” In order to prove someone guilty of robbery by sudden snatching, the lawmakers have further specified that it is not necessary for the state to prove that any force was used in the taking outside of the force necessary to take the property. The state is also not required to prove that the victim offered any resistance at all to the robbery. These additions distinguish a robbery by sudden snatching from a normal robbery in that force and fear are not elements of the offense. A skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer can sometimes take advantage of the confusing and complex statute to aid in your defense.

Defenses To Robbery By Sudden Snatching

Just like how the robbery by sudden snatching statute was put in place to fill the holes left by the original robbery statute, lawyers have begun to find new holes and exceptions within the sudden snatching statute itself. A close comparison of the two statutes reveals another distinction. The robbery statute allows a person to be convicted of robbery if the taking is from the victim’s person or from the victim’s control. This means that you can be convicted of robbery even if the property was not physically on the person of the victim. Robbery by sudden snatching can only be proved if the property stolen was on the person of the victim. This means that if a defendant steals property from a person’s shopping cart, vehicle, or other area of control, they cannot be convicted of robbery by sudden snatching.

Speak To Our Lawyers

The attorneys at Hanlon Law have years of experience defending clients in the most serious criminal offenses. Speak to us today at 727.897.5413.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
As a practicing attorney, I was shocked to hear that a family member of mine was alleged to have committed a sex crime. Knowing full well the consequences this type of allegation can have on anyone and their future, I immediately reached out to William Hanlon for help. I had every confidence that Mr. Hanlon had the knowledge, expertise, and experience to handle this problem. Approximately 4 weeks from an initial conference with Mr. Hanlon, we received a call with the news that a letter of release was being issued and the case was being dropped. Now my family member can finally exhale, take a deep breath, and go on with his life. Thank you, William! Jerry
★★★★★
Was on the ball. Remembered names, events, places, situations. Never need to re explain the situation. Keeps in touch through out the entire experience and keeps you feeling safe, comforted and protected. Fights hard. Worth every single penny. Would never settle for anything less than Will. Carrie
★★★★★
I was facing a charge that if convicted would carry two years in prison minimally. Not only was he empathetic and listening to what I had to say but he arranged with the prosecutor for my charges not to be filed under terms of a pre trial investigation. Would highly recommend. Alec
★★★★★
I am very happy for what he did for me. Always there when I needed him. Explained everything well. He Fights for his clients. He got me what I needed. Hes an excellent lawyer. Mutaz
★★★★★
Mr. Hanlon did what no other lawyer could do. Not only did he turn my criminal history into a thing of the past so I could move on, he was a loyal associate. No matter how bad the situation is, he has miraculously cleared me on every charge since he became my lawyer 5 years ago. I have the best lawyer that the legal system has to offer. I have had other really good lawyers try to get my business, but I know that no one can do a better job than William Hanlon. Jesse