Is it Armed Robbery if You Didn’t Have a Gun?

Is it Armed Robbery if You Didn’t Have a Gun?

When you think of armed robbery, you might have an image of a person holding another individual at gunpoint. However, because of the way Alabama defines it, you could commit this offense even if you didn’t have a firearm in your possession at the time of the act.

What Is Robbery?

Before diving into the specifics of armed robbery, let’s first define robbery. This offense occurs when, in the course of committing theft, you use or threaten to use force against a person to keep them from resisting the taking of their property. The state defines theft as obtaining control, without permission, of someone else’s personal possession, whether that object is money or a tangible or intangible item.

Defining Armed Robbery

When you commit a theft and have a weapon in your possession at the time, the offense becomes armed robbery, or robbery in the first degree as it’s legally referred to.

In Alabama, the elements of this crime include:

  • Having a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument at the time of the offense; or
  • Causing serious injury to another

What that means is if you have a firearm on you and you attempt to take another person’s property, you could be charged. However, it’s not just brandishing a gun that increases the charge from robbery to armed robbery. Wielding nearly any object that could potentially be used to cause serious bodily injury or death to another could be considered a dangerous instrument.

The state takes this offense seriously, and harshly prosecutes individuals who brandish deadly weapons or dangerous instruments during the course of a theft. An Alabama man was convicted of this offense when he wielded a pocket knife while taking just over $50 from a bakery. A pocket knife, which many people carry around with them on a daily basis, using them to open packages or to cut twine.

The man, who was sentenced under Habitual Offender laws, faced life in prison but was recently released after serving 35 years behind bars.

No Weapon? Still Armed Robbery.

Looking a little closer at the definition of armed robbery, you can see that even without having a weapon of any kind, you could still be charged. If, while committing a theft, you cause serious physical injury to another, you could be violating the law. Additionally, one of the sections of the statute says that if you make a person reasonably believe that you have a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, you could be committing armed robbery even if you don’t actually have one on you.

Call Tidwell Law Group, LLC for Serious Legal Defense

Armed robbery is a Class A felony, which means if convicted you could spend up to life in prison and pay up to $60,000 in fines. Having a guilty verdict for a violent offense on your criminal record could make it difficult to find a job, obtain housing, or even qualify for government benefits. Our attorneys are here to prevent that from happening. We will thoroughly analyze your case and collect evidence that refutes the prosecutor’s allegations against you. When you retain our services, we will work toward a favorable outcome in your case.

For a free case consultation, call us at (205) 800-8596 or contact us online.

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