In Florida, armed robbery with a deadly weapon is a very serious crime that is punishable by up to life in prison. The Florida statute defines robbery with a deadly weapon as taking the property of another by use of force or putting someone in fear of violence. If the perpetrator carried a “deadly weapon” during the robbery, then it becomes a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison.
In a case south of Jacksonville, Florida, the defendant robbed a cashier at a convenience store. When the cashier did not immediately comply and hand over the money, the defendant lifted up his shirt showing the handle to a gun. The cashier then gave him the money. Through surveillance footage and fingerprints, the police located the defendant. They arrested him in his vehicle and found a black BB gun under the driver’s seat. At the trial, the jury determined that the BB gun found in his car was the one the defdendant used in the robbery. The jury convicted him of robbery with a deadly weapon.
The criminal defense lawyer appealed arguing that a BB gun is not a deadly weapon under the Florida statute. He argued that a deadly weapon must be something that is likely to produce death or great bodily injury. However, the Court disagreed and held that a jury is justified in determing that a BB gun is a deadly weapon as they did in this case. A jury can determine a BB gun is a deadly weapon if there is an implication from the defendant’s words or actions. Since the victim testified that she thought it was a real gun and gave up the money as a result, the jury could find it was a deadly weapon under the robbery statute.