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Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Theft Offense / What Is “Robbery by Sudden Snatching” in Fort Lauderdale?

What Is “Robbery by Sudden Snatching” in Fort Lauderdale?


“Robbery by sudden snatching” might seem like a complicated phrase, but its meaning is simple. This offense essentially describes pickpocketing. If you attempt to steal items from someone else’s body, you will likely face this criminal charge in Fort Lauderdale. Due to the high concentration of tourists in Florida, pickpocketing is a relatively common offense. Lawmakers take this seriously, and the penalties can be severe. You may find it easier to explore potential defense strategies after reviewing the legal definition of “robbery by sudden snatching.”

The Legal Definition of Pickpocketing in Florida 

Under Florida law, robbery by sudden snatching occurs when you take money or property from another person’s body. In addition, prosecutors must prove several things to secure a conviction:

  • The victim became aware of the crime


  • The victim resisted or suffered injuries

Note that if the victim never became aware of your crime, you cannot face conviction. This is a contested issue in many cases. Because of the wording of this law, you should escape pickpocketing penalties if you successfully take the item without the victim ever noticing.

Robbery vs. Sudden Snatching in Florida

It might seem strange to escape penalties if you successfully pull off a crime without the victim noticing. However, you will only escape penalties for sudden snatching if the victim never became aware of the crime.

If you successfully pickpocket an unwitting victim and the authorities later track you down, you will face penalties for robbery instead.

Most pickpocketing victims eventually become aware of their losses. Even if a victim is not aware of the crime while it is taking place, they usually realize that items are missing. For example, a victim might attempt to pay for an item after the pickpocketing offense and realize that their wallet has been stolen.

Penalties for Sudden Snatching in Florida

Sudden snatching is a third degree felony in Florida. If convicted, you will face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. This might seem like an excessive penalty for a crime that causes no injuries. However, this is still seen as an act of physical aggression by courts in Florida. Pickpocketing requires you to come into close contact with the victim, and lawmakers believe this increases the risk of harm.

You will face a felony of the second degree if you were carrying a firearm or deadly weapon during the offense. Note that you do not actually need to use or draw the firearm to face this heightened penalty.

How Do I Defend Myself Against Pickpocketing Charges in Fort Lauderdale? 

Penalties for sudden snatching are far from guaranteed. A qualified, experienced theft defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help you avoid a conviction. Various defense strategies may prove effective in this scenario, but each situation is slightly different. To receive personalized advice, it makes sense to speak directly with a defense attorney. Choose Haber Blank, book a consultation, and start discussing targeted defense strategies today.




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