If you robbed or stole from someone while in possession of a deadly weapon, you may be facing charges for armed robbery. This is a serious crime in MA, and the penalties can be extremely harsh, up to and including life in prison. There are, however, multiple defenses against this crime. In addition, alternative sentencing options may exist in certain situations. When it comes to armed robbery, the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial to a favorable outcome.
The Four Elements of Armed Robbery
In order to be convicted of armed robbery, however, four elements must be proven. These are:
- The defendant was in possession of a deadly weapon, or threatened use of a deadly weapon. Obvious examples are guns and knives, but anything can be considered a deadly weapon if it could cause serious harm. The weapon doesn’t need to have been used during the robbery. In fact, the defendant doesn’t even need to have a weapon in his possession. The threat of a weapon is enough.
- The victim must have been physically hurt, or the defendant’s threat of harm must have made the victim fear for his safety. In addition, the defendant must have used the threat of force during the robbery.
- The defendant must have actually taken the victim’s property, or the prosecution must show that he intended to steal it.
- The defendant must have taken the property against the victim’s will.
As stated above, you do not need to be in possession of a weapon to be convicted of armed robbery. If the victim felt reasonably threatened that you were in possession of a weapon, you can be charged with this crime.
Penalties for Armed Robbery
Armed robbery is considered a violent crime in MA, and it carries the potential for life imprisonment. As with any criminal offense, your prior criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the crime will factor heavily in determining punishment. In MA, there is a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for many forms of armed robbery. The mandatory minimum is 15 years if you have a previous conviction.
- The victim’s identity is also considered when determining punishment. If, for example, the victim was at least 60 years old, you are more likely to face an increased sentence of up to 20 years.
- If the armed robbery was committed inside of the victim’s home, you may be facing up to life in prison.
- There is a mandatory minimum sentence of five years if you wore a disguise during the robbery.
- There is a mandatory minimum of five years if you were in possession of a gun at the time of the robbery.
One of the most effective defenses in armed robbery cases is to raise an identification issue. If the victim or witnesses are unable to confidently identify the defendant as the individual who committed the robbery, a conviction will be unlikely. That being said, a successful defense is highly dependent on the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you have been charged with armed robbery in Massachusetts, call Attorney Sam Goldberg for a free case evaluation.