A twenty-year-old Palm Springs woman is facing criminal charges after she injured an 86-year-old woman during a robbery. The robbery occurred outside of a Walmart in the suburban town of Lake Worth Beach.
Diana Sosa has been charged with robbery by sudden snatching, battery on a person 65 years of age or older, and grand theft during a declared state of emergency. She has been ordered held without bail.
According to the Accuser
The accuser says that she was sitting in a passenger seat in her car while her husband picked up a few things that Walmart. Sosa then appeared suddenly, asking to borrow the victim’s phone. The victim reluctantly agreed. Sosa returned the phone shortly thereafter, but lunged through the window, grabbing the woman’s purse. The victim sustained injuries to her fingers on her left hand including one broken finger and two others that were sprained. Sosa then fled on foot.
According to the accuser, the woman and her husband had withdrawn all of their money from the bank due to concerns over the coronavirus.
Taking a Look at the Charges
The woman who perpetrated the robbery is being charged with three specific crimes. The first of these is battery on a person 65 years of age or older. The simple battery would be classified as a misdemeanor, but when the battery occurs on a person who is 65 years or older, then it is reclassified as a third-degree felony, which has a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
More seriously, she has also been charged with exploiting a state of emergency for the purposes of conducting a robbery. This is defined in Florida Statutes 812.014 and is considered a first-degree felony under the law. A first-degree felony has a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
Lastly, she is charged with a robbery by sudden snatching which is defined in Florida Statutes 812.131. A robbery by sudden snatching is a felony in the third degree and has a five-year maximum prison sentence.
In other words, the woman who stole the purse is facing a maximum of 40 years in prison and is charged with three felonies, among them, a felony in the first degree.
Penalty Enhancements During a State of Emergency
The declaration of a state of emergency means that some simple crimes will be charged with penalties far more severe. However, the prosecution must prove that the individual charged with the crime used the state of emergency to facilitate the theft. This is more commonly known as an anti-riot provision under the law.
In this case, it isn’t clear that the woman leveraged the state of emergency conditions in order to conduct the theft, but it’s likely that the prosecution has some argument prepared for how she did. Nonetheless, the evidence isn’t there to convict her on such a serious charge. But she could still face a second-degree or third-degree felony for theft depending on how much money was in the purse at the time of the snatching.
Call a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Have you been charged with a crime? Call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm for a skilled criminal defense lawyer.