Sometimes robbing someone in Brazil may not result in imprisonment, but having a criminal record will certainly have negative consequences. This article explains a little more about this felony in Brazil.
The definition of robbery by Brazilian law is to subtract a thing from the others, for itself or for third parties, through serious threat or violence.
The most recent research from IBGE, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, published at the end of 2010, showed that 11.9 million people had experienced being robbed in Brazil. This represents around 7.3% of the entire Brazilian population. Although the number might seem dated, it is still considered one of the best sources to measure robbery cases in Brazil.
The Brazilian Criminal Code defines a penalty of 4 to 10 years imprisonment in addition to a fine. This can be increased depending on the circumstances. If the robbery results in serious bodily injury of the victim then imprisonment can be between 7 to 15 years in addition to a fine. If it results in death then imprisonment increases to 20 to 30 years but without the addition of a fine.
There is also aggravating factors that can be taken into account. The penalty is increased by up to a half if:
- A weapon involved
- Two or more people participate
- The victim is transporting valuable goods and the criminals are aware of it
- The subtracted goods are a motor vehicle and if these goods are taken to another State or country
- The criminal maintains the victim under his control and restricts their freedom for example a kidnapping
However, not every robbery case results in closed conditions for the guilty party. If the penalty is between 4 to 8 years imprisonment, the convict may serve the sentence in semi-open conditions, as long it is not a repeated offense. In these cases, criminals can work or study during the day and sleep in prison at night.
If the robber is not caught red-handed, the police are responsible for investigating the case. By law suspects can wait for the trial and for the whole legal process in freedom. The case is sent to a specific police department, depending on the region where the crime was committed. After the conclusion of the inquiry, the case is sent to the prosecutor’s office where a lawsuit is proposed and can be followed by legal procedures.
However, if the robber is caught in the act, the process is slightly different. The criminal is immediately sent to a police station, where an Auto de Prisão em Flagrante (APF) will be filed.
The conductor, which is the person responsible for bringing the robber to the police station - in most cases the police officer - is heard by a police authority, and then must sign the APF. They then receive a copy of the document and a copy of it is given to the convict.
Then at least two witnesses must testify. Police officers, the victim and the conductor themselves can be considered as witnesses, as long as they were there when the individual committed the crime.
Finally, the robber is heard. At this point, they are informed of their rights which include remaining silent so no proof is produced against themselves. There must also be witnesses when the robber is presented at the police station otherwise no incarceration can be declared.
After all these procedures have been completed a Nota de Culpa, or Guilty Note, is issued informing the robber of their imprisonment, as well as the place where they will be imprisoned. The convict will receive a copy of this document. The family of the convict will also be notified immediately of the robber’s situation and their location.
At the end of the process, the robber is directed to a Centro de Detenção Provisória (CDP, or Temporary Detention Centre) or another similar facility. A copy of the APF is sent to a judge who will analyze whether the inmate shall remain in prison or if they can be released. If they can be released the judge will decide whether there are any bail conditions.
There are many consequences other than the imprisonment of a convicted robber. Even if bail is paid and the criminal is not imprisoned the person convicted will get a criminal record, which will normally result in various limitations.
If you ever get a criminal record in Brazil, the following documents and rights are just a few of the things that cannot be granted or will require a lot of effort to do so:
- Getting or extending a visa
- Getting a positive credit rating
- Being approved for a concurso público
- Working for a governmental body or entity
- Acquiring weapons and ammunition
It is worth noting that there is a lot of prejudice against those who have been arrested or have a criminal record. Most private companies don’t hire people that have spent time in jail claiming it is a safety precaution. Many State laws have even set a quota that a minimum number of former prisoners must be hired for construction projects, for example however, many remain unemployed.