CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY Representing Robbery Arrests
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.