Understanding Illinois Property Crimes Continued: Robbery

armed robbery, property crimes, Illinois criminal defense lawyerOver the last several weeks, this blog discussed some of the characteristics of different types of property crime in Illinois. The first post looked at burglary offenses, which include breaking and entering, criminal trespass, and residential burglary. Last week’s post examined charges related to theft in more detail, a classification which encompasses shoplifting, retail theft, and the taking of unattended property. Today, for the last post in the property crime series, this blog will consider offenses related to robbery.

Definition of Robbery

Illinois statutorily defines robbery as the taking of property, not including a vehicle, “from the person or presence of another by the use of force or by threatening the imminent use of force.” Under this definition, robbery would include a mugging on the street, purse-snatching, and the hold-up of a convenience store or bank.

Aggravated robbery may be alleged when:

  • In committing the act, the suspect verbally or otherwise indicated possession of a weapon, regardless of whether a weapon was actually present; or
  • The suspect committed the act by means of drugging or incapacitating the victim with a controlled substance.

Under law, robbery is a Class 2 felony, but depending on the location of the offense and the age or disability of the victim, may be prosecuted as a Class 1 felony. Aggravated robbery is always considered a Class 1 felony.

Armed Robbery

Just as it sounds, armed robbery is defined as a robbery that is committed while in possession of a firearm or other weapon, or the perpetrator discharges any firearm in the course of the offense. Armed robbery is a Class X felony, and penalties are based on the type of weapon involved, whether a weapon was fired, and whether injury occurred as a result. The maximum sentence is 25 years up to life in prison for the most serious offense.

Vehicular Hijacking

While charges of robbery exclude situations in which the taken property is a motor vehicle, Illinois law provides a separate statute for the prosecution of such acts. Applying the use or imminent threat of force to take an individual’s vehicle is known as vehicular hijacking. Absent aggravating factors, such an offense is a Class 1 felony.

Like many offenses, certain considerations may be made to raise the charges to aggravated vehicular hijacking, including:

  • Age and disability status of the victim;
  • The presence of a child under 16 in the vehicle;
  • The suspect’s possession of a weapon or firearm;
  • The suspect’s discharge of any firearm while committing the offense; and
  • Any injuries sustained as a result of the discharge of firearm.

Aggravated vehicular hijacking is a Class X felony in Illinois, punishable, depending on the circumstances of the case, by up to 25 years to life in prison.

Professional Legal Representation

With such severe penalties possible, charges related to robbery are extremely serious and a qualified defense starts with choosing the right lawyer. If you are facing allegations of robbery or any other property crime, contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today. We offer a free consultation so that you can have your options explained and your questions answered.

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