In Texas, robbery and aggravated robbery are two separate offenses carrying different punishments. The difference between facing up to life in prison or as little as two years behind bars may come down to whether there was a display of a deadly weapon.
If you or a loved one are facing a robbery charge, it’s imperative that your reach out to an experienced Fort Worth robbery lawyer today.
According to the Texas Penal Code Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 29.02, a person commits robbery if, during the course of committing a theft, the person either:
Robbery is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine.
Under Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 12.32, a person commits aggravated robbery if, during the course of committing a robbery as defined above, the person:
Aggravated robbery is first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be imposed.
Under Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 1.07(8), bodily injury is defined as “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” Courts broadly construe this definition to include minor physical contact as long as they constitute more than mere offensive touching.
For aggravated robbery, the bodily-injury element is satisfied when violence is clearly perpetrated against another for the purpose of overcoming resistance to the theft. In Aguilar v. State, the Court of Appeals stated that juries are free to infer that a victim felt or suffered physical pain even when no direct evidence of physical pain is present.
Under the Texas Penal Code §1.07(a)(17), a deadly weapon is “anything manifestly designed . . . for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury.” If an object does not qualify as a deadly weapon per se under the statute, the State must prove that the object used in the offense was, in the manner of its use or intended use, capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.
The following factors may be taken into consideration in determining whether an object is a deadly weapon:
Robbery becomes aggravated robbery when a person uses or exhibits a deadly weapon. It is not necessary that the object be used to inflict wounds, nor does its use need to be accompanied by a threat for the object to be considered a deadly weapon. Therefore, it is possible that mere display of an object can satisfy the deadly weapon requirement. It is up to the trier of fact to determine whether all of the essential elements of the crime exist beyond a reasonable doubt.
Further, the victim does not need to be aware of the deadly weapon as long as it was brandished during the course of committing the robbery. In Boston v. State, the Texas Court of Appeals stated there was no requirement that the victim’s knowledge of he deadly weapon be the cause of fear of imminent harm. The court also explained that the language of the statute allowed a fact-finder to conclude that an individual could be placed in fear in circumstances where no actual threats are conveyed.
The following objects were found to be deadly weapons either because they did in fact cause serious bodily injury or because they had the capacity to cause such injury.
If you are facing allegations for robbery or aggravated robbery in Fort Worth, reach out to an experienced lawyer today for assistance. We can help. Our team of attorneys have decades of experience and proven results.