Although there are certainly a variety of situations that could lead to armed robbery charges, these cases generally fall into three categories:
- Stranger stick-up cases.
- Store or bank robberies where someone displays or mentions a weapon. Please note that in Massachusetts, you do not have to actually have a weapon to be charged with armed robbery. All you have to do is mention that you have a weapon — and thereby put an alleged victim in fear — and that could be sufficient for the charge.
- Robbery in a home, which actually transforms the crime in Massachusetts into "armed home invasion" or "armed burglary."
Challenging the Prosecution's Evidence
Many armed robbery cases are identification cases. In other words, the prosecutor's key evidence comes from an alleged victim or an eyewitness viewing a photo array or a lineup and pointing out the suspect. In identification cases, there are certain procedural safeguards that have been put in place by both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to make sure the identification was not unnecessarily suggestive, that the defendant received due process, and that his or her rights were preserved. Attorney Yannetti and his associates are experienced in handling identification cases and have successfully filed and argued motions to suppress identification evidence. A successful motion to suppress identification, of course, may leave the state with no case against you, and force the prosecutor to dismiss the charges entirely.
An experienced and skillful criminal defense attorney may also seek to suppress from evidence any weapon that was seized in connection with the alleged crime. The police must follow certain procedures under state and federal law when they conduct a search for a weapon. If the police failed to abide by those procedures, a motion to suppress evidence of a weapon could be successful. That, in turn, may force the Commonwealth to reduce the charge to unarmed robbery or larceny from a person — or may force the government to dismiss the charges altogether.
Discovery motions are critical for the defense of armed robbery cases. Early on, it is important to preserve evidence that might be lost, such as tapes from surveillance cameras. An experienced attorney realizes that the preserving evidence can make the difference between winning or losing a case.
The law, of course, is constantly changing in many areas. For years, prosecutors were able to call on ballistics experts to testify that a spent bullet recovered at a crime scene was fired by a particular firearm. Under a recent U.S. District Court ruling, an expert ballistician may no longer testify with such specificity and certainty. Now, the expert witness in federal court may only testify that there are markings on a bullet which are similar to those fired by a particular weapon. This is less powerful testimony and may be exploited by an experienced criminal defense attorney. Fingerprint evidence is facing similar legal challenges right now. In short, if you are charged with the serious crime of armed robbery, you should ensure that your attorney is experienced in these cases, and is up-to-date on recent case law. If you retain the Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm, you will have that assurance.
Call For A Free Consultation With A Boston Home Invasion Defense Attorney
If you are facing charged in connection with a home invasion or another type of robbery, get legal help as soon as possible. Contact a lawyer online or call 617-338-6006 for a free phone consultation.