Armed Robbery Charges & Laws

In Massachusetts, armed robbery is a crime that is covered by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265. The law states that armed robbery consists of robbing or stealing from someone while you are armed with a deadly weapon.

For you to be convicted of armed robbery in Massachusetts, the prosecution needs to prove four elements:

  1. He must prove that you were armed with a deadly weapon, which is a weapon that can jeopardize life or cause serious harm. It does not need to be designed for such purposes. It also does not matter if the weapon was actually used or when he was armed, as long as it was related to the robbery. Common deadly weapons include brass knuckles, knives and guns.

  2. He must prove that the threat was made by you to put the victim in a fearful state, or that you physically hurt the victim. The prosecutor needs to prove that the robbery or stealing of property was caused by the threat of force.

  3. He must show that you took the possession of the victim with the intent of actually stealing it. To prove this, the prosecutor needs to show that he took it against the victim’s will.

  4. The prosecutor needs to show that the taking of the property was againsts the will of the victim.

It is important to note that in this state, you do not have to be armed to be convicted of armed robbery. All that needs to happen is to tell the victim that you are armed. That is enough for the district attorney to charge you with this crime and convict you. The key in this type of conviction is that by just stating or implying that you have a weapon, you have created a state of fear in the victim and that is enough under the law to convict you.

Sentencing Guidelines

If you are convicted of armed robbery in Massachusetts, you could be facing life in prison. There is a minimum five year sentence in state prison for armed robbery, and the minimum is 15 years if you have a previous record.

The judge on the case does have the discretion to impose a sentence of a variety of years. However, he or she does have the option of sentencing you to life in prison.

There are a number of factors that come into play in the length of the sentence for armed robbery. These include:

  • Your prior criminal record, if any

  • How the robbery was committed

  • Characteristics of the victim - if the person was over 60 years of age, you can get up to 20 years in prison.

  • If you entered the victim’s home to commit armed robbery, you can be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

  • If you wore a disguise or a mask, there is a minimum five year sentence for a first offense.

  • If you were armed with a gun, there is a minimum sentence of five years.

Defenses Against Armed Robbery

Your defense will need to cast doubt upon one or more aspects of the prosecution’s case. Your attorney can do so by questioning the credibility and evidence against you. He or she also can try to suppress evidence against you. Suppressing evidence can be done if you can prove that the evidence was gotten illegally or incorrectly.

Another good way to defend you against armed robbery is to raise doubt on whether or not it was really you who committed the crime. The case of course hinges on the prosecution proving that you were the one who committed the armed robbery offense. Your lawyer may be able to get you acquitted if enough doubt can be raised on this point.

Lastly, the defense can try to undermine the case of the prosecution by bringing into question if you were really armed. If the police did a search illegally or they did not follow procedures in collecting evidence, the evidence of the weapon used might be able to be suppressed.

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