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A robbery charge is a serious criminal accusation, and the punishments associated with a conviction for this offense become even more severe when a firearm was involved. That said, all individuals accused of this crime will have the opportunity to defend themselves against the allegations.

In all criminal cases, including robbery crimes, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution. If the prosecution cannot prove the following facts are true beyond a reasonable doubt in a robbery case, then a conviction cannot occur:

  • The accused person took or stole property.
  • The stolen property belonged to someone.
  • The property was stolen from the owner's person or it was stolen while in the presence of the owner.
  • The property was taken against the owner's will.
  • The accused person committed the unlawful taking through intimidation, violence or brute force.

The final point above -- the element of force, violence or threat -- is essential to the crime of robbery, which is a more serious offense than theft or larceny. In cases where violence happened while the accused person was trying to escape after committing a theft, the matter would probably be viewed as theft or larceny as opposed to robbery.

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When things look grim based on the factual scenario in a criminal defendant's lawsuit, and a conviction is likely, the defendant may elect to negotiate a plea deal. Negotiating the plea, or plea bargaining, is a useful defense tactic that benefits both the defendant and the prosecution.

Let's take a look at how plea bargaining benefits both sides of the criminal defense equation:

How plea bargains help defendants

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Although you might not think that you're hurting someone's property by spray-painting your initials or a picture on the side of it, the owner of the property could feel differently about it. In fact, the owner – and the police for that matter – might see such an act as vandalism. Vandalism – i.e., the destruction, defacing or harming of someone else's property – is illegal and those who are found guilty of the offense will face various criminal punishments.

If you're not sure what constitutes vandalism under the law, here are a few examples of the crime:

  1. Intentionally throwing a rock into a neighbor's window and breaking it
  2. Spray-painting the side of a building with your initials or spray-painting your favorite design on a street sign
  3. Ripping the picture off a billboard
  4. Drawing a mustache and glasses on a poster next to a bus stop
  5. Using a permanent marker to draw on a bathroom stall
  6. Painting graffiti on a sidewalk

Many who commit the crime of vandalism see themselves as graffiti artists and they might – indeed – be creating beautiful art. To make matters more confusing, some graffiti artists are revered and respected even though they began their art careers as vandals and may even have been arrested and convicted of the crime on multiple occasions. Yes, in many cases the line between art and vandalism can be blurred. Call it what you wish. If you've changed the appearance of someone else's property or in some way harmed the property without permission from the owner, then a criminal court will likely find you guilty of vandalism.

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There are too many reasons to name that could result in someone facing criminal allegations. For one, it's hard to keep track of everything that's illegal these days, and one false move could land you facing criminal charges. Secondly, numerous individuals get arrested and accused of crimes they didn't commit. Regardless of your situation, if you're facing criminal charges, it's time to familiarize yourself with the various criminal defense strategies that might apply to your situation.

Here are two common criminal defenses that – depending on the facts and circumstances of your case – might help your situation:

1. The admit and explain story: Using the "admit and explain" defense, a defendant will admit to the physical act the prosecution has accused them of performing. However, the defendant will offer additional explanations to reveal why the action wasn't a crime.

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Would you know what to do if you're accused of shoplifting? Would you run and hope that you get away? Would you stay where you are, explain yourself and pray that everything works out?

Although shoplifting is not the most serious crime, it can still lead to a serious punishment. This is particularly true in the event that you are convicted of shoplifting an expensive item, such as jewelry.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you're facing a shoplifting accusation:

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