Each State has unique and specific armed robbery laws. However, many states define armed robbery as the theft of property with the use of force. In addition, charges of armed robbery can sometimes be brought simply because the victim was in fear of physical harm. However, it is much easier to utilize armed robbery laws to press charges if the perpetrator inflicted harm on the victim or is in possession of a deadly weapon.
In addition, armed robbery can lead to more serious charges. In fact, the felony murder doctrine can be utilized to bring more serious charges even if a death that resulted from the crime was accidental. Usually, murder charges require that the perpetrator intended to kill an individual. However, death that results from armed robbery or other felonies is considered felony murder because the death should have been foreseeable by the perpetrator.
Robbery in the first degree must include several factors. In most states, armed robbery is considered a violent felony and carries very serious sentences. For example, New York punishes robbery in the first degree as a Class B felony which carries sentences of at least five years, with penalties ranging up to twenty-five years. In general, these crimes include the use or presence of a deadly weapon. Generally, these crimes are seen in banks and other businesses. In addition, perpetrators sometimes use weapons to steal from victims on the street or in home invasion-type robberies. However, armed robberies are most commonly seen in businesses rather than residential settings.
Second degree robbery is differentiated by a shorter sentence because the crime is less serious in nature. In most states, armed robbery is treated as a first degree felony, which incurs long prison sentences. In general, states have a minimum sentence of at least five years for offenders that commit crimes of this type.
While each State will have unique armed robbery laws, each State considers armed robbery to be a violent offense. In order for that robbery to be defined as armed robbery, the perpetrator must have had a weapon or used force to achieve the theft. In contrast to burglary, the victim must be present in order to be defined according to armed robbery laws.
New York’s armed robbery laws are very strict and inflict harsh penalties on perpetrators. In fact, children are often charged as adults when they take any part in armed robbery. For example, a child that poses as a lookout while other young adults take part in robbing a store will likely face the same charges at the child holding the weapon. Like New York, many states treat armed robbery as a serious offense, which incurs harsh prison sentences.