Penalties for Armed Robbery in Arizona

armed robbery arizona -- shadow of someone pointing a gun at another person with their hands up

Penalties for Armed Robbery in Arizona

Armed robbery in Arizona is a very serious offense. It involves not only taking another person’s property without permission, but doing so while using or threatening someone with a deadly weapon. 

For example, two young men are walking down the sidewalk in Chandler. They approach a middle-aged woman carrying her purse over her shoulder. One of the men grabs the purse, attempting to steal it. The woman grabs hold of the purse with both her hands, fighting him. The second young man pulls a gun out from behind his back and points it at the woman, instructing her to let the purse go. She complies, and the two men run away with the purse. 

A few hours later, police find the two young men and arrest them. Instead of charging them with robbery alone, they also charge them with armed robbery, because they used a gun during the theft. Both men now face much steeper penalties for their crime. 

What is the penalty for armed robbery in Arizona? 

Arizona statute ARS 13-1904 classifies armed robbery as a class 2 felony. If convicted, defendants may face between 3 to 12.5  years in state prison if they have no prior felonies. An armed robbery defendant with one prior felony may face 4.5 to 23 years in prison, and for those with two or more prior felonies, armed robbery sentences increase to 10.5 to 35 years. 

Regardless of a person’s criminal past, sometimes an armed robbery in Arizona becomes a “dangerous offense.” If a deadly weapon used during the incident causes serious physical injury, penalties also increase. If the young man in our example had fired the gun and injured his victim, the crime would be considered a dangerous offense. 

Under Arizona statute ARS 13-704, dangerous offenders face a minimum of 7 years to a maximum of 21 years in state prison if convicted of a class 2 felony.

What legal defenses can a lawyer use against an armed robbery charge?

There are a few defenses that a certified criminal law specialist can use to defend someone against charges of armed robbery. Proving that no weapon was involved, that the person was wrongly accused due to mistaken identity, or that there was an illegal search and seizure are the best defenses. These defenses can help reduce an armed robbery charge to less severe charges of robbery, burglary, or theft, or get all charges dropped entirely. 

There Was No Weapon

In our earlier example, if the young man had threatened the woman with something that looked like a gun—for example, pointing his fingers inside his jacket—but never physically had a gun, a defense attorney could argue that this was not an armed robbery crime. In order for charges of armed robbery to stick, the defendant must have committed a robbery while using or threatening someone with a deadly weapon. 

Mistaken Identity

Being the victim of a crime is one of the worst moments of a person’s life. Victims often become very upset, confused, or disoriented when asked to identify their attacker from a line-up or photos of possible suspects. Or, if the crime happened at night, it may have been difficult for the victim to see the perpetrator clearly. In all of these instances, a defense attorney may argue that the defendant was mistakenly identified. 

Illegal Search or Seizure

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from unlawful search and seizure. This means that if police found the gun and stolen purse in the car or home or home of the young men in our example, but did not have a search warrant, a judge could throw that evidence out because it was obtained illegally.

Armed Robbery Lawyer in Phoenix

Never take a charge of armed robbery in Phoenix lightly. In addition to numerous years in state prison, convicted defendants get the life-changing term of “felon” placed on their permanent record. Felony convictions can affect a person’s ability to find housing and employment for the rest of their lives

If you face a charge of armed robbery in the state of Arizona, certified criminal law specialist Todd Coolidge is here for you. Call 602-795-0770 for our Phoenix office or 480-264-5111 for our Chandler office to make an appointment. We’ll review your case and help you make the best defense possible.

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash