Earlier this month, warrants were issued for the arrest of two men for felony armed robbery, according to DuPage County court records. The men, who do not appear to have criminal records, are suspected of robbing two separate Naperville stores. On May 13, two men matching the suspects’ descriptions held up a 7-Eleven convenience store and Mobil gas station with firearms. The stores reported that the men stole approximately $1,200 at gunpoint. Robbery is a serious crime in Illinois and, if convicted, the men could face decades behind bars.
What Is Robbery?
How is robbery different from theft? Both criminal acts have similarities. Each requires that a person unlawfully take another’s property. Robbery, however, is considered to be a violent crime and is taken very seriously by law enforcement and Illinois state prosecutors. A robbery occurs when you take property “from the presence or immediate possession” of another person using force or by threatening force. A robbery not only requires that you take another person’s property when they are present, but also that you use or threaten to use some degree of force to succeed.
In Illinois, robbery is most often charged as a Class 2 Felony. A Class 2 Felony is generally punishable by 3-7 years in prison and/or fines of up to $25,000.
What is Armed Robbery?
The men accused of robbing the stores in Naperville were charged with armed robbery because they reportedly displayed weapons during the crime. In Illinois, the charge of robbery may be elevated to “aggravated robbery” if certain aggravating factors occur. You may be charged with armed robbery if you carry any type of dangerous weapon or tell victims that you are carrying any type of dangerous weapon. A dangerous weapon can include (but is not limited to) a firearm, knife, club, ax, or bludgeon.
Can you be charged with armed/aggravated robbery if you were not actually armed? Yes. You can even be charged with armed robbery if you indicate to victims that you are armed. The indication does not have to be verbal. For example, let’s say you enter a bank with your hand in your jacket pocket. Your hand is empty, but you hold it to make it appear as though you are carrying a weapon. If you motion for a teller to look at your concealed hand it may be reasonable for him to believe that you are armed. Even though you did not say anything to make the tell believe that you were armed, your actions indicated that you may be.
What is Aggravated Robbery?
Armed robbery is one type of aggravated robbery. You may also be charged with aggravated robbery in other situations. In addition to committing a robbery while armed, you may also be charged with aggravated robbery if:
- You commit a robbery while drugging the victim with a controlled substance (through injection, inhalation, ingestion, transfer or possession, or any other means);
- You commit a robbery and your victim is over the age of 60 or handicapped; or
- You commit a robbery in a school, day care center or home, child care facility, or place of worship.
Aggravated robbery – including armed robbery – is classified as one of the most dangerous crimes in Illinois. It is a Class 1 Felony, which is punishable by 4-15 years in prison and/or fines of up to $25,000.
Is Carjacking a Type of Robbery?
Carjacking, which is known in Illinois as “vehicular hijacking,” is essentially a robbery of someone’s vehicle. You may be charged with vehicular hijacking if you knowingly take a motor vehicle from another person or in their presence using force or threatening the use of force. The charge of vehicular hijacking is not found in the same section as robbery. Instead, it is given its own Section in the Illinois criminal code. As a result, it is not technically robbery, but its own distinct crime. However, the elements of the two crimes are strikingly similar.
Are There Defenses to Charges of Robbery?
There are certain defenses that your experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney may be able to argue in your defense. Successfully presenting a defense can increase your chances of having the charges against you reduced or dropped. You attorney will review and analyze your case and all relevant evidence to determine which of the following defenses may be helpful.
- Lack of required intent
- Lack of required knowledge
- Lack of required force or threat of force
- No property taken during the crime
- Mistaken identity
Have you been arrested for and/or charged with robbery or aggravated robbery in DuPage County? If so, you should contact an experienced DuPage County robbery defense attorney as soon as you can. Hiring an attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and that you are given the opportunity to defend yourself against any charges you may face.