Robbery is prosecuted very severely in Illinois. This is because, unlike burglary or theft, a robbery involves a certain level of threat to a person, the use of a weapon or an injury suffered during the commission of the robbery. Because of these factors, the penalties for robbery offenses are severe and can alter one’s life for years, decades or a lifetime. There are several ways a person can be charged with robbery and all robbery charges are felonies and therefore carry lengthy prison sentences and large financial penalties.
In Illinois, robbery charges are prosecuted under Illinois statutes 720 ILCS 5/18-1 and 720 ILCS 5/18-2. Robbery charges usually fall under one of three categories including: Robbery, Aggravated Robbery and Armed Robbery.
The following details each of the robbery crimes:
- ROBBERY – Under 720 ILCS 5/18-1, an individual is charged and accused of robbery when he takes another person’s property by use of force. Robbery is a Class 2 felony and carries a 3 to 7-year prison sentence. Robbery charges can be upgraded to Class 1 felonies if they are committed near a school or place of worship; or if they are committed against a disabled or elderly individual (i.e. those over 60 years old). Oftentimes, robbery cases must depend on an eyewitness to identify the robber. The individual who was robbed, or someone who was present at the time of the alleged robbery, must identify the suspect as the person who committed the crime. Studies and research are increasingly showing the unreliable nature of eyewitness testimony. Recalling facts during stressful situations, having facts inserted by the prosecution, even if unintentionally, and the presence of a weapon during the event are all factors that influence and affect a person’s memory. A skilled, experienced, and aggressive criminal defense attorney can expose these flaws in the prosecution witnesses to demonstrate that their identification of the suspect is not reliable or credible. The trustworthiness of an eyewitness and exposing his flawed perception and memory of the events can be the difference between a prison sentence and hearing those words, “not guilty”.
- AGGRAVATED ROBBERY – Under 720 ILCS 5/18-5, a person is charged with aggravated robbery when he unlawfully takes another person’s property combined with the actual or perceived threat that the person has a weapon or firearm. A person may be charged with aggravated robbery if the use of force occurs during the commission of the robbery. Aggravated robbery is a more severe offense compared to simple robbery. The penalties and fines are greater and will prosecuted more severely. Aggravated robbery is a class 1 felony and a conviction for aggravated robbery carries with it a sentence of 4 to 15 years in prison in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Aggravated robbery is a non-probationable offense.
- ARMED ROBBERY – Under 720 ILCS 5/18-2, a person can be charged with armed robbery when he is uses a dangerous weapon to illegally take another person’s property. Armed Robbery is a Class X felony, is non-probationable and carries a minimum sentence of 6 years and a maximum of 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. If a firearm is used, 15 years will be added to the class X 6-30-year sentence, making the sentence range 21-45 years in prison. If a firearm is discharged during the commission of the armed robbery, a 25-year enhancement will be added on to the class X 6-30 year sentence making the total sentence 31-55 years in prison. One can also be charged with armed robbery using a weapon that is not a firearm. Armed robbery can be charged using axes, hatchets, brass-knuckles, billy-clubs, baseball bats, knives, or any other weapon determine to be “dangerous” under 720 ILCS 5/33A-1.
What Constitutes a Robbery in Illinois?
Robbery is a serious criminal offense in Illinois that is punishable by imprisonment, fines, and other penalties. Under state law, a robbery occurs when a person knowingly takes property from another person by the use of force or under the threat of imminent force. Robbery crimes are felony offenses, and a conviction can have long-lasting consequences on your life, including difficulty in finding employment, housing, loans, and other opportunities.
If you are facing charges or have been accused of committing the crime of robbery, it is crucial to understand the four key elements:
Taking Property From Another Person
Taking property from another person refers to the act of forcefully or unlawfully taking someone else’s property. This element is essential in establishing the offense of robbery, which is considered a serious crime in most jurisdictions. The taking may involve physical force or threats of violence, and the property taken can be tangible or intangible, such as money, jewelry, or electronics. In some cases, the taking element may also involve taking property that is in the possession of another person, such as a wallet or purse. The severity of the offense may depend on factors such as the value of the property taken, the use of a weapon or violence, and the degree of harm inflicted on the victim.
Carrying the Property Away
To be charged with robbery, the person taking the property must have some level of control over the item. This means that they must be able to carry the property away or interfere with the victim’s possession of it in a significant way. If the person is merely touching the item or moving it slightly, that may not be enough to qualify as robbery.
The key is that the person taking the property must be exerting some level of control over it, such as by picking it up or forcefully removing it from the victim’s grasp.
Intent to Permanently Deprive the Person in Possession of the Item
To be charged with robbery, there must be an intent to permanently deprive the person of their possession of the item at the time of taking it. Even if the item is going to be thrown away after use, intending to take it still establishes a key element of robbery.
Using Force or Threat of Force to Take Property
Under Illinois law, robbery involves a person using force or threatening to use force in order to take property from someone. It doesn’t matter if the level of force is minimal or if no dangerous weapon is actually involved, it is still considered robbery.
For example, robbery could include forcefully yanking a woman’s purse strap, knocking someone down, or shaking someone in order to make them release the item. In all of these scenarios, force is used to take something that does not belong to the person taking it.
Potential Defenses Against Robbery Charges in Illinois
When you have an outstanding legal team on your side, you’re not just limited to one defense strategy. Even if it is a case of armed robbery or aggravated robbery, The Law Office of Purav Bhatt will consider all angles to get the charges reduced or fight them at trial. An experienced robbery lawyer can carefully examine and counter the prosecution’s evidence, witnesses, and arguments to the jury so they fall short of proving you committed the crime.
With our expert legal representation and defense strategies, we can help raise reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors, potentially leading to a “not guilty” verdict. Here are some of the possible defense strategies your seasoned criminal defense attorney may use:
As a robbery defendant, you have options for mounting a strong defense to prove your innocence, and our legal team is here to help. For instance, you could present alibi evidence, showing that you were out of town or attending an event at the time of the robbery. We can also challenge the prosecution’s evidence (such as prosecution witnesses’ identifications or security camera videos) to cast doubt on their case.
Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, and if we can create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury, we can fight to get your charges dropped.
An entrapment defense could be used if you were coerced or tricked into committing the robbery by law enforcement officials. This strategy requires showing that the defendant was not predisposed to commit the robbery and that the government’s conduct forced them to do so.
Please note that this defense is not available if the defendant was already inclined to commit the crime, even if the government’s conduct provided the opportunity to do so.
If you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the robbery, an aggressive criminal defense attorney may be able to use intoxication as a defense. There are two types of intoxication defenses: voluntary and involuntary.
- Voluntary Intoxication: Voluntary intoxication occurs when someone willingly consumes drugs or alcohol. This defense is typically not accepted by the Illinois courts, as it’s considered the individual’s responsibility to avoid committing crimes while intoxicated.
- Involuntary Intoxication: On the other hand, involuntary intoxication is a defense that may be used when the intoxication is outside of the defendant’s control. This can happen if someone is drugged without their knowledge, or if they take medication that has unexpected side effects. In this case, you must prove that you didn’t intentionally become intoxicated and that the intoxication caused you to commit the crime without being aware of the nature or wrongfulness of your actions.
If the defendant was threatened with serious harm or death, they may have a defense to robbery charges called duress. To prove duress, you must show that you were forced to commit the robbery and that there was an immediate threat of harm.
Duress can be challenging to prove, and sometimes courts reject it as a defense because the defendant could have avoided committing the robbery without risking harm. If your robbery defense attorney can provide evidence that you were in fear of harm and had no other option, you may be able to use duress as a defense.
Facing Robbery Charges in Illinois? Get One of the Most Trusted Criminal Defense Lawyers on Your Side
When you are facing Chicago robbery charges, you need an experienced and dedicated legal team to fight for your rights. At The Law Office of Purav Bhatt, we understand the seriousness of your situation and will work tirelessly to protect your freedom and future. Our experienced criminal defense attorney will examine the evidence, challenge the prosecution’s case, and craft a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances. Don’t wait to get the help you need. Contact us today by calling 773-791-9682 or filling out the contact form.