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Rolling Meadows Armed Robbery Defense Lawyer

Rolling Meadows Armed Robbery Defense Lawyer

Criminal Defense Attorney for Armed Robbery Charges in Cook County and DuPage County

If you take something that does not belong to you, the police do not simply charge you with "stealing." Rather, Illinois law defines a number of distinct taking-of-property crimes, including theft, retail theft and shoplifting, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, and armed robbery.

Robbery means the taking of property from a person by force or the threat of force, but without the threat of a dangerous weapon. Aggravated robbery occurs when (1) the robber implies that they are carrying a dangerous weapon, even if they are not, or (2) the robber drugs the victim with a controlled substance in order to rob them. Robbery is generally a Class 2 felony, while aggravated robbery is a Class 1 felony.

Armed robbery occurs when at least one of the robbers is carrying a dangerous weapon such as a firearm, knife or other sharp instrument, ax, bludgeon, or club (e.g., a baseball bat or iron bar). Armed robbery is a Class X felony in Illinois. Depending on the type of weapon and how it is used, the penalty is a minimum of six years and a maximum of life in prison, along with a fine of up to $25,000 and compensation for losses to the victim. There is no possibility of receiving a sentence of court supervision or probation for a Class X felony.

At Hartsfield Law, we understand that dire circumstances may make a person feel they have no choice but to steal in order to survive. A mental illness or drug addiction may be involved, or an unarmed person may be caught up in a group and not realize that another person is armed. We also recognize the harsh toll that a felony conviction takes on a person's life and the importance of getting charges reduced whenever possible. Whatever your situation, you will receive friendly, knowledgeable, and assertive counsel at Hartsfield Law.

Penalties for Robbery With a Dangerous Weapon

Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/18-2) defines armed robbery as a Class X felony, subdivided into four levels of severity with increasingly harsh prison sentences:

  • Possessing a dangerous weapon other than a firearm: The statutory minimum of six years in prison
  • Possessing a firearm (per the definition of firearms, even if unloaded and even if not recovered by the police): The statutory minimum of six years plus an additional 15 years.
  • Personally discharging a firearm during the robbery: six years plus an additional 20 years.
  • Personally discharging a firearm resulting in great bodily harm or death to another person: six years plus an additional 25 years to life.

When multiple robbers work together, even if only one is armed, all of them can be charged with the crime of armed robbery.

Defenses to the Crime of Armed Robbery

Some of the arguments that have been raised in defense of an armed robbery charge include:

  • The charge was based on unreliable eyewitness testimony regarding the threat, presence, or use of a weapon.
  • The charge was incorrect because the accused was not actually in possession of a dangerous weapon. For example, an Illinois appellate court has ruled that a lightweight, plastic toy gun is not a dangerous weapon (People v. Skelton, 414 N.E.2d 455, Ill. 1980).
  • The charge of "armed with a firearm" was incorrect because the accused was not carrying a firearm as defined by Illinois law (430 ILCS 65/1). Items not considered firearms include devices used exclusively for signaling or safety (e.g., flare guns), low-powered BB/pellet guns, and paintball guns. State appellate courts have, however, ruled that such items may be considered dangerous weapons if they can be used as bludgeons.

The accused will need to work closely with their attorney to build the strongest possible case for reduction or dismissal of charges, negotiation of a plea deal, and/or for argument at trial.

Consult a Rolling Meadows Lawyer Experienced in Robbery Defense

The penalties for armed robbery in Illinois are severe, even if a firearm is not discharged, and no one is wounded in the course of the robbery. That said, an aggressive attorney with experience handling such matters in the local court system may be able to negotiate reduced charges and/or a reduced sentence. For charges originating in Cook County or DuPage County, our Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, with offices in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace, can help. For a free consultation, call Hartsfield Law at 312-345-1700

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