A late night meal turned terrifying recently when three masked men broke into a Whataburger restaurant in Jacksonville, News4Jax.com reports.
Charges of robbery in Jacksonville can lead to serious penalties if a person is convicted. If weapons are involved, the problems worsen.
Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys have defended many clients facing this tough charge. Robbery, not to be confused with burglary, is when a person steals directly from a person, usually with force. This doesn’t require the threat of a weapon, but it can. Burglary, however, is generally breaking into an unoccupied building or car and stealing property.
The charges are different and so are the penalties.
According to Florida Statutes 810.02, burglary is usually handled as a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. If a person is in the house at the time of the burglary, or if the suspect assaults someone, the penalties can be bumped up to second- or first-degree felonies.
Robbery, under Florida Statutes 812.13, is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison even if no weapon was used. So, at a minimum, a person can be sentenced to prison for more than a decade for committing an unarmed robbery. If a weapon is used, the person can face 30 years to life.
In the Whataburger case, the news station reports that three men broke into the restaurant and made workers and customers lay on the floor as they stole money before leaving the scene. No one inside the restaurant was injured.
Police say they attempted to pull over a “suspicious” car, but it fled and led police on a chase before crashing. Three men were in the vehicle and ran off. Two were arrested, but the third got away. One of the men arrested had to be treated at a hospital for injuries sustained when taken down by a K-9 officer.
Police are still investigating whether there is a connection between the car chase and the robbery. Though, it would seem to be apparent if they found masks in the vehicle or what looks like stolen cash.
It must also be investigated whey police thought the car was “suspicious” in the first place. Police are required to have probable cause when making a traffic stop. This means they must see a traffic violation or have more than a “hunch” or suspect a car is “suspicious” before they try to pull it over. In cases where a “be on the lookout” has been issued for a make and model of car, that might qualify as reason enough to pull over a car, but saying it looked strange might not cut it.
That may be an avenue for a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to look at once the case progresses. It may be possible to file a motion to suppress, which could eliminate all evidence police collected.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
More Blog Entries:
Stephans. v. State Illustrates Why State Has the Burden to Prove Theft Charges in Jacksonville: October 10, 2011
Wal-Mart Video Game Thief On the Loose in Fleming Island: September 30, 2011