by Mary Agramonte
Armed Robbery occurs when someone takes property from someone by use of a weapon, device, or a replica weapon. It is treated seriously under Georgia law in that it is a “capital felony.” A capital felony is a crime that is punishable by life or death in the State of Georgia. This blog lays out the criminal justice process for someone who has been arrested for Armed Robbery in Georgia.
thing that happens after someone is arrested for Armed Robbery is that they
will see judge in their First Appearance hearing. This typically occurs within 48-72
hours of the person being arrested, depending on whether or not there was an
arrest warrant. At the First Appearance hearing, a Magistrate Judge will read
the charges to the suspect, as well as inform them of their right to counsel
and right to remain silent. In some cases, bond can be considered at a First
Appearances hearing. However, in Armed Robbery cases, the procedure is
different. This is because only Superior Court Judges can hear bond arguments
for the crime of Armed Robbery. This means unless the First Appearance Judge is
“sitting in designation” then a bond will not be set or considered at the onset
of arrest at the initial hearing.
Following the arrest and First
Appearance hearing in Armed Robbery cases, an attorney will need to file a
request for a Probable Cause and Bond hearing. This hearing will determine
whether or not there is enough evidence to even prosecute you for Armed
Robbery. If there is not, the charges can get thrown out at this stage. If the
Judge does find probable cause that an Armed Robbery had occurred and you were
the person who did it, or was a party to it, then the Judge “binds the case
over to Superior Court” since that is the court with jurisdiction to proceed
over the case. Once in Superior Court, the Judge can consider whether or not to
release the person on bond.
The court may release a person on
bond if the court finds that the person:
(1) Poses no significant risk of
fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when
(2) Poses no significant threat or
danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community;
(3) Poses no significant risk of
committing any felony pending trial; and
(4) Poses no significant risk of
intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.
These are known as the Ayala
factors in Georgia based after the case that laid out our standards in bond
determination. Ayala v. State, 262 Ga. 704 (1993).
If a bond is granted, there may be
certain conditions attached. For example, the Judge may order you to have a
curfew, or stay away from the alleged victim in this case.
The Armed Robbery case will then
proceed with Arraignment where you will enter a Not Guilty plea, file Motions,
which are later followed by Plea Negotiations, Motions Hearings, and Trial.
During this process, the attorney will do intensive investigation to the facts
and defenses of the case and represent client’s interests zealously.
There are several defenses to Armed Robbery cases in Georgia.
First, if you were only present at the time it occurred, and you did not share
the same criminal mentality of the co-defendants, then you cannot be guilty of
Armed Robbery. Simply being there when
an armed robbery occurs is not a crime. The State still has to prove criminal
intent beyond a reasonable doubt.
You can be charged with Armed
Robbery as being a Party to a crime law in Georgia means that you can be
convicted and sentenced as if you directly committed the crime- even if you did
not directly commit the crime. You can
be charged with Party to a Crime to Armed Robbery if you:
1. Commit the crime
2. Intentionally aid or abet in the
commission of the crime;
3. Intentionally advises,
encourages, or counsels another to commit the crime.
This means you can be charged,
convicted, and sentenced to Armed Robbery in Georgia if the State proves you
encouraged the person to commit the crime, or if you provided them with the
weapon, whether it be fake or not. All of this must be proven beyond a
reasonable doubt, a very high standard in our Justice system.
Sentencing in Armed Robbery
As previously discussed, the stakes
are high in Armed Robbery given a life or death sentence is allowed in Georgia
law. Additionally, it has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10-20 years in
prison. This is why it is imperative to move quickly in obtaining an Armed
Robbery attorney early on to establish defenses and thoroughly investigate the
case. The lawyers of W. Scott Smith are available 24/7 to answer you questions
via a FREE CONSULTATION on Armed Robbery charges. 404-581-0999