A charge of armed robbery should be taken very seriously, as it can carry significant penalties and consequences. Under Illinois law, armed robbery is a Class X felony, which means there is a mandatory prison sentence of between 6 to 30 years. Penalties may be adjusted, or prison time extended depending on the specific facts of each case.
This is why it is important to understand exactly what the prosecution must prove to secure an armed robbery conviction, and what defenses are available.
Proving a case of armed robbery
To prove armed robbery, the elements of robbery must first be established. Robbery occurs when a person knowingly takes the property of another person using force or a threat of force, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of the property. Armed robbery may be charged if the person taking the property used a firearm or other dangerous weapon while committing the robbery.
Defending against armed robbery
There are several defenses to a charge of armed robbery. The prosecution must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. They must gather evidence, which may come from victim or witness statements or the police investigation.
Statements from the victim or witnesses may be unreliable. Robberies typically occur quickly and place victims in severe distress. Their memory of the event may be hazy, which can result in a case of mistaken identity when identifying the perpetrator.
Additionally, police and prosecutors must follow all laws pertaining to protecting the legal rights of the accused. A violation of any of these rights may be grounds for dismissal of the charge.
A conviction for armed robbery can result in a lengthy prison sentence, fines and other penalties, including the stigma that comes with a criminal conviction. It is important to seek the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can perform a thorough evaluation of the case and prepare a strong defense.