Police arrested three Louisiana men after what police called a brief chase following an alleged armed robbery at an Outback Steakhouse. The alleged victim reported that three suspects entered the restaurant around closing time and held it up. Each of the men now face a felony charge of armed robbery.
Prosecutors will charge a person with "armed robbery" when the use of a weapon is involved. In Louisiana, armed robbery carries with it the possibility of a stiff prison sentence. The minimum prison sentence for this offense is 10 years, and the court could sentence a person to up to 99 years in prison, effectively a life sentence even if no one gets hurt or killed in the robbery.
Although it is not entirely clear whether a firearm was used in this case, a person who uses a gun in the course of an armed robbery faces an additional five years in prison at hard labor.
A person accused of robbery, or any violent crime for that matter, has several defenses available to him or her. For example, identification of the suspect is a possible defense. The prosecutor obviously must prove that the person standing before the court is the same person who committed the crime.
Oftentimes, the only person who can identify a robber for certain is the alleged victim, who often will naturally be nervous and distracted and not focused on exactly how the suspect looks. For these and other reasons, the victim's eyewitness identification may not always be reliable, and he or she may misidentify the culprit.
Sometimes, a person can be accused of robbery simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. An aggressive defense is important for anyone facing a robbery charge or other type of violent crime.
Source: KLSA, "Three suspects arrested in restaurant armed robbery," Amber Edwards, Nov. 15, 2012