Exclusively Practicing Criminal Defense for
Two Decades
David Olshansky

Armed Robbery

The statistical data from Illinois datacenter shows that the number of crimes, especially robberies has been going down based as a percentage of population. The main for the declining crime in the state is due to a stable economy and better opportunities for the citizens.

Gangs and mafia activity has also declined due to improvements from the law enforcement agencies. Modernized correctional facilities have led to better rehabilitation of convicted criminals. After serving their sentence, ex-cons are more likely to pick up honest, legal work rather than going back to a life of crime and felony.

Decline in armed robberies is also attributed to better gun laws and background checks. Whether you are pro-guns or anti-guns, both sides agree on the need for better and stricter checks on allowing purchase of firearms. If you have been charged with armed robbery, contact our Chicago criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible.

State Legislation

Robberies and Armed robberies are covered under section 18 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. According to section 18.1 (a), a person is said to have committed robbery when he or she takes property of another by use of force or by threatening the use of force.

Section 18.2 covers armed robbery. A person is believed to have committed armed robbery when he/she violates section 18.1 and

  1. He or she is armed with a dangerous weapon other than a firearm.
  2. He or she is carrying a firearm.
  3. He or she, during the act of the robbery, personally discharges a firearm.
  4. He or she personally discharges a firearm during the robbery that causes bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement or death of another person.
Punishment for Armed Robbery

Armed robbery is categorized as a Class X felony. A violation of section (a)(2) Class X felony can add 15 years to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court. A violation of section (a)(3) Class X felony can result in an addition of 20 years to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court. A violation of section (a)(4) Class X felony can result in an addition of 25 years to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court. You will need a Chicago armed robbery defense lawyer in your corner.

Practical Examples

Despite the severe penalties and prison times for robberies and armed robberies, these crimes are a common occurrence in the state of Illinois. Illinois has some of the strictest gun-laws in the country given the history of violent shootings and gang wars in the state.

A convicted armed robber can face a prison term of 3 to 7 years, just for carrying a weapon. Carrying a firearm can increase the minimum prison term to 15 years. Discharging the firearm while commencing a robbery can result in a minimum of 20 years even when no bodily harm is caused.

It is obvious, based on the minimum prison terms, that possession of firearms at the time of a robbery can have a significant impact on the length of punishment awarded by the courts.

Important Considerations

It should be noted that the amount of money taken, or the value of property robbed, does not have a significant impact on the court’s decision. However, the court may take into consideration the condition of the victim of the robbery.

For example, if the victim is an elderly or disabled person, the court can take notice of this and give a harsher punishment to the defendant.

In order to get a conviction of armed robbery, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant took property from another person by the use of force or threatening the use of force while using a weapon or firearm.

Historical Court Cases

Last year, three college football players decided to play a prank on their dormitory in Bromley Hall. Dressed as masked robbers, they entered the room of one of their dormitory mates while holding a BB gun. As they made their demands for money, the victim recognized the voice of one of the players and pointed it out.

The player removed his mask and said it was a prank, making “light of the situation”. The suspects left the room after taking some money from the victim who reported the situation to the police. The police later arrested the trio and charged them with armed robbery. Charges were later dropped as the matter was settled out of court.

In another case, a man from Illinois was indicted by a grand jury in Jackson County on charges of armed robbery and aggravated robbery in Carbondale. It was alleged that the defendant took money and cigarettes from a store employee by threatening to use force if the store clerk did not do as he said. The defendant was carrying a firearm at the time. The case is still in court.

Possible Legal Defenses

There are a number of possible legal defenses available. The type of defense to go with is completely dependent on the defendant although our legal team would do their best to counsel the defense which has the best chance of being successful in the court.

The defendant may plead not guilty to the offense. In this case, the defense team will need to present evidence that the defendant did not commit the alleged crime. The defense would need to critically review the evidence from the prosecution and find grounds for reasonable doubt. This is approach is more confrontational. If successful, it could get a verdict of not guilty from the court. If it fails however, the punishment is usually harsher, with the court opting to go with the maximum prison term.

The defendant may also plead to be guilty of armed robbery, but with qualifications. The defense may be able to argue that no physical injuries were caused, or that threat of force was not used. The defense may also argue lack of knowledge or lack of intent on the part of the defendant. Another possible defense is if no actually property was taken from the victim. The defense team may also be able to argue with an intoxicated state of mind.

The defense that could be used is based on a lot of factors and the strength of the prosecution’s case. Our team of Chicago armed robbery defense lawyers can make a recommendation on the merits of each individual case.