If you are facing robbery charges in Colorado, there’s a good chance you’re feeling lost and confused. Maybe even hopeless.
Is there any way to fight back? To protect your rights and your good name? To get the charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed?
Depending on your specific circumstances, there are many defense strategies that a knowledgeable Colorado robbery attorney may be able to use to help your cause. Below is an overview of what the law says about robbery in our state and several potential defenses that may be wise for you to employ.
Defining the Act of Robbery in Colorado and the Associated Costs
What is robbery, legally speaking? According to the Colorado statute:
“(1) A person who knowingly takes anything of value from the person or presence of another by the use of force, threats, or intimidation commits robbery.
(2) Robbery is a class 4 felony.”
To put it even more simply, robbery is using “force, threats, or intimidation” to steal from someone.
Colorado law lists two additional robbery charges, one for aggravated robbery (a class 3 felony), and one for aggravated robbery of controlled substances (a class 2 felony).
Each of these comes with the potential of prison time, but your sentence can vary greatly depending on a number of factors.
Generally speaking, a class 4 felony is the least serious, as your prison sentence cannot exceed six years, and a class 2 felony is the most serious, with a prison term that cannot exceed 24 years.
Possible Defense Strategies a Knowledgeable Colorado Robbery Lawyer Might Use
Keep in mind that which defense will work best depends upon the specific details of your case. In general, however, your attorney may employ one of the following strategies:
In order to convict you, the prosecutor must prove that the elements of robbery are present in your case. Looking at the definition above, you can see that robbery involves both intent and using force or intimidation, as well as the actual taking of money or property from someone.
Essentially, an affirmative defense says that one of these elements can’t be proven. For example, you could argue that you stole someone’s property, but that no force, threats, or intimidation was used.
If you can provide evidence that you were somewhere else when the alleged crime occurred, this can be a very strong defense. However, your alibi will need to be quite convincing.
Things that can be helpful in establishing an alibi include but are not limited to witness testimony, video evidence, and other types of documentation (say, for example, a concert ticket or flight records showing you were out of the state).
You cannot be convicted of committing an illegal act if another forced you to do it by threatening to seriously hurt or kill you. This is called duress.
Unfortunately, duress is not easy to prove, but if you have strong enough evidence, it can be a viable defense.
Basically, entrapment means that a government agent pushed you into doing something illegal that you otherwise would not have done. In this case, engaging in a robbery.
As you might imagine, entrapment is not usually easy to argue. Your attorney must be able to show that you had no intent to commit robbery until you were “pushed” into doing it by an agent of the government through the use of persuasion or fraud.
If there was no government agent, this defense won’t work. If the prosecution can prove that you had a prior intent to commit the robbery, it won’t work.
Just as in every criminal case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. In other words, they must prove that you are guilty – all you and your lawyer must do is create doubt so there is a reasonable reason to believe you might not have committed the crime.
Because of this, it is always vitally important that your attorney point out any holes in the argument that the prosecution is trying for make. For example, if they can’t prove your whereabouts when the crime occurred, that could create some pretty solid doubt.
Were you under the false belief that the property you took actually belonged to you? If so, you might be able to use the “true owner” defense, essentially arguing that it was a mistake.
Unfortunately, you would still need to come up with an argument to account for the use of force. Perhaps it was the other party that initially acted violently and your actions were merely a response to them.
Your Strongest Defense Is to Speak with an Experienced Lawyer as Soon as Possible
As mentioned above, only a knowledgeable Denver robbery attorney will be able to determine which defense strategy is best for you, and only then after closely examining the facts of your case. Because of this, it is absolutely necessary to get in touch with a skilled lawyer as early in the process as possible.
Do not delay. The sooner you reach out, the more likely you are to reach a positive outcome.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.