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 were accused of committing robbery with a deadly weapon, it’s imperative that your reach out to an experienced Fort Worth aggravated robbery lawyer today.
What Constitutes Robbery in Texas?
According to the Texas Penal Code Tex. Pen. Code 29.02, a person commits robbery if, during the course of committing a theft, the person either:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
- Intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.
Robbery is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine.
What is Considered Aggravated Robbery?
- Causes serious bodily injury to another;
- Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon; or
- Causes bodily injury to another person or threatens or places another person in fear of imminent bodily injury or death, if the other person is either disabled or 65 years old or older.
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. An aggravated robbery attorney in Fort Worth could build a defense to prevent these consequences.
What is Bodily Injury?
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.
What is considered a Deadly Weapon?
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:
- Physical proximity between the victim and the object;
- Threats or words used by the assailant;
- Size and shape of the weapon;
- Weapon’s ability to inflict death or serious injury; and
- Manner in which the assailant used the 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 the 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.
Examples of Deadly Weapons
A Fort Worth lawyer could investigate an aggravated robbery case to determine if a deadly weapon was used. 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.
- Ice pick
- Pellet gun
Learn More About Aggravated Robbery in Fort Worth
If you are facing allegations for 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.