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Armed Robbery Legal Defense in Utah

Armed Robbery Legal Defense in Utah

Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take anything of value by force, threat of force, or by putting the victim in fear. According to common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear; that is, it is a larceny or theft accomplished by an assault.[1] Precise definitions of the offence may vary between jurisdictions. Robbery is differentiated from other forms of theft (such as burglary, shoplifting, or car theft) by its inherently violent nature (a violent crime); whereas many lesser forms of theft are punished as misdemeanors, robbery is always a felony in jurisdictions that distinguish between the two. Under English law, most forms of theft are friable either way, whereas robbery is friable only on indictment. The word “rob” came via French from Late Latin words (e.g., deraubare) of Germanic origin, from Common Germanic rub — “theft”.

Armed robbery, in criminal law, aggravated form of theft that involves the use of a lethal weapon to perpetrate violence or the threat of violence (intimidation) against a victim.

Armed robbery is a serious crime and can permanently traumatize its victims, both physically and psychologically. It tends to receive considerable media attention when it occurs, and it carries longer prison terms than other forms of robbery such as simple robbery (i.e., theft without a dangerous weapon). Armed robbery is typically motivated by the desire to obtain money, which is then often used to purchase drugs; however, some armed robbers engage in the crime with the intention of boosting their status within their peer group. Whatever the motivation, the act is classified as a violent crime, because armed robberies can result in injury and sometimes death to victims.

Armed robbers are disproportionately young males who are clearly opportunistic in their selection of easy targets. Armed robbery may occur on the street—where unsuspecting individuals are held up at gunpoint—or in a commercial establishment such as a convenience store or a bank. Several studies have determined that armed robbers prefer isolated locations with lone victims and reliable escape routes. As a result, increasing public awareness of the crime and providing businesses with enhanced security and surveillance are thought to reduce the incidence of armed robbery. Law-enforcement authorities can further reduce the chances of armed robberies occurring by monitoring places known for high incidences of the crime and engaging in aggressive patrols and intervention to deter potential offenders

Armed Robbery, according to the laws of the state of Arizona, occurs whenever a weapon is used in the commission of a robbery theft. The weapon can be a gun, knife or any other deadly weapon. You can be charged with robbery even if the weapon is not pointed at the victim. It’s also an armed robbery charge without a weapon if you give the impression of having a weapon and the victim has a reasonable cause to believe you. An example might be using your finger inside a jacket pocket to give the impression you have a gun. That’s enough to satisfy the requirement for an armed robbery charge.

The Charge of Robbery

 Taking property from another person – Robbery begins when someone takes personal property (not real property, such as land or buildings) that someone else possesses, without the person’s consent. The victim need not actually own the item taken; it’s enough that he has mere possession. For example, forcefully taking a library book from someone would qualify, even though the victim doesn’t own the book.
 Taking property from another’s person or presence – Unlike simple theft (like taking an item from a store), robbery involves taking something from a person. This includes not only taking something from one’s grasp, such as hitting someone in order to cause him to lose his grasp of his briefcase, but taking something from someone’s presence.

Items that are within a person’s presence are close to the victim and within his control. For instance, locking a clerk in a storeroom after forcing the clerk to open the safe would constitute robbery, because the safe was under the control of the clerk. Another way of understanding this is to say that the money in the safe was within the clerk’s control in that he could have prevented the taking but for the robber’s threats or violence.

Some states, however, don’t require that the item be taken from the person or his presence. In these states, the use of violence or threats in conjunction with the theft will suffice.

 The property must have been carried away – The law requires that the defendant actually carry the property away, even slightly. Sometimes, merely exercising control over the item taken will suffice. For instance, intending to take a camera, a thief places his hands on the case that hangs from the victim’s shoulder. Although he is stopped before he could move it, in most states, this act would suffice for “control.”

 Intending to permanently deprive the possessor – The person who has taken another’s property must have intended at the time to permanently deprive the victim of that property. Taking something with the intent of using it in a way that creates a high likelihood that it will be permanently lost is sufficient. For example, taking a cell phone with the intent of using it and abandoning it creates a substantial risk that it will never be returned.

 Taking by violence or intimidation – Taking someone’s property is robbery if any force is used to obtain it. Pushing someone down, hitting someone, wresting something from the victim’s grasp are all examples of violence. There need not be a lot of force—a light shove or the snapping of a purse strap will do.

Robbery can also be accomplished by intimidating someone—placing someone in fear. But in some states, that fear must be reasonable—the response of any ordinary person in the position of the victim. Other states will count a victim’s unreasonable response (the response of someone unusually susceptible to threats), as long as it was triggered by the defendant’s actions.

Traditionally, the threat needed to be one of serious injury or death, or the destruction of the victim’s home; and the threat needed to be of imminent harm. For example, threatening to do harm to the victim’s family member many months hence is not imminent enough to qualify as a threat.
 Using a dangerous weapon – As explained above, “armed robbery” is usually charged as an aggravated robbery, which requires the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon. There’s little debate whether a functioning firearm qualifies as a deadly or dangerous weapon. But other objects can qualify, as long as they are inherently deadly, or if not, used in a manner that causes or is likely to cause serious physical injury or death. Many debates surround items like stationary objects, canes, animals, parts of the human body, and vehicles.

Robbery Crimes Defined

Attempt to commit – Aggravated robbery charges are often brought based on the actions taken immediately before and after the incident. For example, fleeing the scene of the attempted crime can constitute these charges.
Although in Salt Lake City armed robbery and aggravated robbery are often used interchangeably, the statute only refers to aggravated robbery because it is more comprehensive, it includes the following:
• the use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon
• causing serious bodily injury
• taking or attempting to take an operable motor vehicle in the course of committing robbery

Aggravated robbery is a First-degree felony crime. This is considered one of the most serious crimes a person may be charged with. It is indispensable to engage the services of an experienced Salt Lake City lawyer who can vigorously defend and advocate for your rights.

Helping people charged with robbery minimize the serious consequences
The consequences of a robbery conviction can be severe, both immediately and in the long term. If you have been charged with robbery, your best course of action is to talk with a criminal defense attorney at Ascent Law in Utah, who has extensive experience and knowledge of Utah robbery laws. It is crucial that you speak with an attorney about your robbery charge before you talk with the police or answer any questions. Lawyers can advise you of your options and help ensure your rights are not violated. Robbery defendants who have a knowledgeable lawyer working on their behalf usually get a better outcome with lesser consequences than those who do not.

Penalties for robbery convictions

Under Utah robbery laws, robbery is a second-degree felony with penalties that can include one to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated robbery is a first-degree felony, for which penalties can include five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In addition, in most robbery and aggravated robbery cases, the Utah court orders the defendant to pay restitution to the victim, whom means that you must repay the victim for the property that, was taken if you are convicted. Finally, a felony conviction remains on a person’s criminal record and is accessible to anyone who looks it up.

Utah Felony Criminal Penalties

Sentencing and Aggravating Factors – Minor criminal offenses are called misdemeanors, while more serious offenses are categorized as felonies. Robbery is always a second degree felony, which in Utah can result in a maximum fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence ranging from one to 15 years in prison.

Judges have discretion over the duration of a convicted defendant’s prison sentence. A sentence may be longer if the court finds any aggravating factors, or aspects of the crime that enhance penalties. Examples of aggravating factors include:
 Committing a crime on school property.
 Endangering a child while committing the crime.
 Committing a hate crime.

Robbery becomes aggravated robbery, a first degree felony, if the defendant caused serious injury or used a dangerous weapon while committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing from the crime. Actual or attempted robbery of a working, usable car or other motor vehicle is also aggravated robbery. Utah penalties for a first degree felony can include a fine up to $10,000 and a sentence ranging from five years to life in prison.

Reasons You Can Be Charged With Robbery

Being charged with robbery is not the same as being charged with theft or burglary, which are separate crimes. Robbery has a distinct definition which sets it apart from these and other related offenses. Defined under Utah Code §76-6-301, robbery is charged when a suspect allegedly:
 Steals or tries to steal another person’s property, against the victim’s will, by using force or putting the victim in fear for their personal safety. It does not matter whether the defendant meant to take the property permanently or temporarily.
 Deliberately using force, or deliberately putting the victim in fear for their personal safety, while committing theft or taking property that isn’t lawfully yours. That includes attempted theft, actual theft, and/or fleeing from the scene of a theft.
If the suspect did not use force or put the victim in a state of fear, the elements of the charge are not met. Stealing without using force or fear is theft or wrongful appropriation — which are also serious allegations. If you or one of your loved ones has been accused of any form of theft, burglary, or robbery in Utah, you should contact a criminal defense attorney for help right away

Get Legal Help for Armed Robbery

As with any felony charge, it is essential to consult with a criminal defense attorney as early as possible in the case. An experienced defense attorney will be able to help you understand the charges against you and the weight of the evidence the prosecution intends to produce. A good attorney will be able to realistically assess your chances at dismissed or reduced charges, a plea bargain, or the likely consequences should you go to trial as charged. Only someone who is familiar with how the prosecutors and judges in your courthouse approach cases like yours will be able to give you this essential information.

A robbery conviction has both immediate and long-term consequences. First, you can receive a lengthy prison sentence. Then, once you have served your time and been released, you will have a permanent criminal record which can prevent you from getting hired for jobs, or approved for professional licenses. You can also lose your gun privileges. It is critical that you have a skilled and tenacious criminal lawyer on your side.

Free Consultation with a Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you need help defending against charges of robbery in Utah, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506