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Aggravated Robbery

A Full Guide to Aggravated Robbery

A Full Guide to Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated robbery is the term used to describe a theft in which the perpetrator takes property from another person by force. That property can be personal property, or it can be property that person has possession rights to at the time that the robber takes that property.

For example, a store clerk may be robbed while working at the cash resister in a convenience store. While the clerk does not own the property, they are in rightful possession of that property. The property in a robbery must be the property of another person, even if that person is not currently in possession of that property.

A key element of robbery is that the perpetrator takes possession of property that they are not entitled to either possess or own. In addition, they take that property through the use or threat of violence against the victims.  In some jurisdictions, there is no difference between armed robbery and aggravated robbery. However, the difference is usually defined by the presence of a deadly weapon in armed robbery.

Aggravated robbery generally includes an element of physical force in the absence of a deadly weapon. Aggravated robbery can include threats of violence, which are reinforced by using some type of force in order to gain victim compliance.

In either case, the perpetrator steals property from an individual while utilizing intimidation to gain victim compliance with all demands. In some jurisdictions, a simple threat of force is enough for a perpetrator to be charged with aggravated robbery, even if no act of physical force takes place during the commission of the crime.


Aggravated robbery is becoming an increasingly common crime across the nation. Many law enforcement officials estimate that crimes of this nature will continue to increase while the economy continues to be in its current state. When economic times are bad, property crimes and violent crimes continue to increase because many individuals feel a sense of desperation. Because of that desperation, many criminals fail to ponder the legal consequences of their actions.

In some jurisdictions, the difference between armed robbery and aggravated robbery can be significant when it comes to sentencing. For that reason, some robbers choose not to carry a deadly weapon during the commission of their crimes. Therefore, they may have a more difficult time gaining victim compliance because victims may not feel an immediate threat of danger to their health and safety.

Many times, robbers utilize physical force in order to get victims to do what they want, while refraining from presenting a deadly weapon. For example, in home invasion robberies, a robber may threaten children with physical harm if the parents do not comply.

In most jurisdictions, that threat is enough for the suspect to be charged with aggravated robbery. However, if the suspect claims to have a deadly weapon, even if they do not, the charge can be armed robbery. In the same example, the simple presence of a robber in the house can be enough to gain victim compliance. However, the crime is still likely to be charged at a higher degree than simple robbery due to the nature of the crime.

The fear induced when a victim is face to face with a robber is oftentimes enough for the suspect to be charged with a higher degree of crime. If the victim is never made aware that the perpetrator is in the house or on the property, then the crime may be charged as simple burglary. However, burglary has many other violent crimes associated with it, just like robbery does. In any case, crimes of this nature can lead to more serious offenses such as kidnapping, sexual assault and felony murder.

Sentencing and Punishment

Sentencing for aggravated robbery will depend greatly on the jurisdiction that is prosecuting the crime. In addition, the nature of the crime can also affect the punishment inflicted if the suspect is found guilty. For example, if associated crimes are tried separately, the sentence is likely to be longer. In addition, many judges will impose longer sentences for perpetrators that cause grave bodily injury, especially to children or the elderly.

For each violent crime, a jurisdiction will have basic sentencing guidelines. Those guidelines will offer a minimum sentence and a maximum sentence for each type of crime. In addition, there may be clauses that add time to a sentence for certain factors of the crime, such as amount of money stolen. Although a sentence is up to a judge’s discretion, the minimum sentence for each crime is usually mandated by jurisdiction.

In other words, the judge must make the sentences at least as long as the minimum. However, they cannot make the sentence any longer than the maximum allowed in sentencing guidelines, even if the crime was especially violent.


Most criminal lawyers will attempt to have all charges against a suspect included under one charge. In other words, many suspects in aggravated robberies face multiple charges because of associated crimes. For example, a suspect may face a charge of kidnapping, in addition to a charge of aggravated robbery. The suspect may have held a victim hostage in order to get other victims to comply.

Most criminal lawyers would attempt to have those charges combined. However, it is likely that prosecutors would want to try those two offenses separately in order to get the longest sentence possible for the violent offender.

Many times, prosecutors will try to charge defendants with as many offenses as possible, especially if sentencing guidelines in that jurisdiction offer a low maximum sentence for a particular crime. Judges only have so much discretion when imposing a sentence. The more offenses a suspect is charged with, the more likely they are to stay in prison for an extended period of time. For this reason, criminal lawyers often request that the suspect be tried for all crimes at the same time, or they may ask that certain charges be reduced.

Associated Crimes

There are many crimes associated with aggravated robbery. In fact, prosecutors often strive to have each associated crime included as a separate charge against the suspects. In some aggravate robbery cases, there are more serious crimes committed in concurrence with the robbery.

For example, individuals that take part in a home invasion robbery are likely to be charged with kidnapping or hostage taking in addition to the aggravated robbery. In many cases, at least one hostage will be injured or face serious and immediate threats of injury in order to get the other victims to comply.

In fact, home invasion robberies are one of the most serious types of aggravated or armed robbery. By simply entering the home, the robbers have already induced fear in their victims and are likely to face the most serious of robbery charges available in the jurisdiction where the crime took place.

There are other associated crimes as well. In some robbery cases, there are murders, kidnappings, sexual assaults, trespass, and many other violent offenses. It is very rare for an individual to simply be charged with aggravated robbery minus any associated crimes.

Differences from Armed Robbery

Aggravated robbery is very similar to armed robbery. In both cases, the suspect is accused of taking the personal property of another through the use of force or threat of force. In most jurisdictions, armed robbery requires the element of a deadly weapon being present during the commission of the crime. Each jurisdiction will have varying rules that define aggravated robbery.

In fact, some states do not differentiate between armed robbery and aggravated robbery. Yet, many jurisdictions make the distinction based on one fact: the presence or perceived presence of a deadly weapon during the commission of a crime.

For example, a robber may keep a hand in a pocket and imply that they have a gun. That person would likely be charged with armed robbery even if no gun was actually present. Conversely, a robber that assaults a victim, but makes no threat that they will use a deadly weapon to gain compliance, will likely be charged with aggravated robbery

What are Some Other Crimes Associated to Aggravated Robbery?

What are Some Other Crimes Associated to Aggravated Robbery?

There are many other violent and serious crimes that are associated with aggravated robbery. First, there is a fine line between aggravated robbery and armed robbery. Those distinctions will be determined by the criminal laws of each jurisdiction. Criminal justice cases that include aggravated robbery also include violent crimes such as murder, kidnapping, assault, and home invasion.
While criminal justice rules define aggravated robbery as a felony, the charges against a suspect can be even more serious if they commit associated crimes in concurrence with aggravated robbery. Sentencing guidelines help judges make determinations based on criminal justice rules that apply to each crime individually.
On some occasions aggravated robbery results in the death of a victim, innocent bystander, law enforcement member, or a suspect. In that case, the suspect could be charged with felony murder. According to criminal justice rules, any death that results from a felony incurs separate felony charges and can result in the death penalty in many jurisdictions. It does not matter how the death occurred, as long as it was a result of a felony crime.
Perhaps the death of a police officer occurred due to an accident while he or she was responding to an aggravated robbery call on the police radio. That death could be charged as a felony murder according to criminal justice rules that pertain to felony crimes. The death of that officer would be charged separately from the question of aggravated robbery, which would also be charged as a felony.
Oftentimes, a criminal finds that they face multiple charges that result from felony crimes. In fact, aggravated robbery may result in kidnapping charges if the criminal held anyone hostage during the commission of the crime. The criminal would face additional, more serious charges if they took their victim across State lines during or after the commission of the felony crime.
Criminals that take part in felony crimes often face multiple charges on associated crimes. In fact, sentences for aggravated robbery increase significantly due to the criminal’s participation in associated crimes, as well as other intervening actors, such as the value of the property stolen. Other felonies committed by the criminal will substantially add to the sentence imposed by the judge.
Once a criminal is found guilty, they are likely to discover that the time of their sentence extends far beyond what they believed was appropriate. Associated crimes also tend to be violent in nature and some aggravated robbers receive life in prison without the possibility of parole, depending on the jurisdiction.

Differences Between Armed and Aggravated Robbery

Differences Between Armed and Aggravated Robbery

In most jurisdictions, aggravated robbery is very similar to armed robbery. In fact, some jurisdictions do not differentiate between the two crimes. In most cases, armed robbery is a crime that takes place with the criminals using a deadly weapon in order to gain victim compliance. The deadly weapon does not have to be used or even displayed to victims. The presence of the deadly weapon at the crime scene is all that is required for the suspect to incur armed robbery charges.
Whereas aggravated robbery includes force or an immediate threat of force in order to gain victim compliance. Some jurisdictions require that a victim is injured due to psychical force in order for there to be aggravated robbery charges. In either case, the crime is a felony and will be considered a violent crime at the time of sentencing.
Aggravated robbery is usually treated as a slightly lesser offense than armed robbery. However, some jurisdictions do not treat the crimes any differently. Some jurisdictions have criminal laws that treat violence and a perceived threat of violence as similar crimes. In fact, basic psychology suggests that real violence and perceived threat of violence have similar effects on the psychological health of victims.
In some jurisdictions, aggravated robbery means that deadly weapon was present or perceived to be present due to some action of the perpetrators. Whereas some states simply require that there was a threat of violence utilized in order to gain victim compliance.
Armed robbery usually means that a deadly weapon was actually presented during the commission of the crime. However, the requirement that a deadly weapon be present during the commission of the crime does not mean that the weapon had to be used. In fact, the weapon simply being present fits the requirement of usage since the weapon was indeed utilized to gain victim compliance through verbal threats. In some jurisdictions, victims only have to perceive that a deadly weapon is present in order for the charge to be armed robbery.
The difference between aggravated robbery and armed robbery can become very confusing. State-specific criminal and theft laws make determinations as to defining crimes and sentencing guidelines for each crime, but the fact remains that robbery is a violent crime and treated as such by the criminal justice system. Criminals that perpetrate the crime are often treated as violent criminals and many jurisdictions sentence guilty parties with the belief that violent criminals are not likely to be rehabilitated.
Usually, perpetrators or armed robbery or aggravated robbery suffer from harsh and long sentences in a maximum security prison. Those criminals often have limited contact with others for an extended period of time.