You may not realize it, but robbery is a type of theft offense. What makes it robbery is if someone takes any property – except a motor vehicle – from another person by using force or by threatening to use force.
In Illinois, there are multiple robbery charges that have different – but still serious – penalties. You could be charged with:
- Robbery. Robbery is a Class 2 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 3 to 7 years in prison. If the robbery was committed in a school, child care facility, or place of worship, you will be charged with a Class 1 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 4 to 15 years in prison. After you're released from prison, you will be on parole for 2 years.
- Armed robbery. Armed robbery occurs when the defendant possesses or uses any type of weapon during a robbery. If you commit armed robbery, you can be charged with a Class X felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and anywhere between 6 and 55 years to life in prison. Your sentence will be determined depending on the amount of force or threatened force and how the weapon was used. After you're released from prison, you will be on parole for 3 years.
- Vehicular hijacking. Vehicular hijacking is robbery of a motor vehicle and also a Class 1 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 4 to 15 years in prison. Aggravated vehicular hijacking is a Class X felony.
- Aggravated robbery. Aggravated robbery occurs when the defendant drugs a victim without consent or says they have a weapon. Aggravated robbery is Class 1 felony punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and 4 to 15 years in prison.
So now that you know what a robbery charge actually means, how can you beat it?
The first step in beating a robbery charge is hiring an experienced Illinois robbery lawyer who can help build a strong defense in your favor. Some of the defenses your lawyer might use could include:
- Lack of intent. Since robbery is a type of theft crime, the prosecution has to prove that a robber took someone else's property with the intent to deprive that person of the property. A skilled lawyer will be able to look at the facts of your case and show the court that you didn't intend to take or keep the property so you can't be guilty of robbery.
- Lack of force or threat. If you didn't use force or threaten to use force to take someone else's property, then you didn't commit robbery. Robbery force has to be more than the touching necessary to take property. For example, a pickpocket can't be charged with robbery because there's a lack of force.
- Intoxication. If you were intoxicated at the time of the alleged robbery, you might be able to reduce a robbery charge to a lesser crime because you weren't capable of forming the specific intent for robbery.
- Innocence. By casting reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case, you could be found not guilty of robbery. If you can provide evidence of an alibi or poke holes in eyewitness identification, the prosecution's case might not be strong enough to prove a guilty verdict.