If you sneak up behind someone and take their wallet without them noticing, you’ve committed a theft crime. But, it’s not robbery. A conviction for robbery requires the use of force and the taking of property against the victim’s will.
Arizona divides robbery into three distinct crimes: robbery, aggravated robbery, and armed robbery. The elements of proof required for each of these crimes is very similar. However, the punishments are extremely different. A conviction for a first offense of robbery is as little as one year. In contrast, a first offense for armed robbery carries a mandatory 7-years prison term. Let’s take a closer look at Arizona robbery laws to better understand the important distinctions between these crimes.
Overview of Arizona Robbery Law
Below, you will find key provisions of Arizona’s robbery law.
- Force: Any physical act directed against a person as a means of gaining control of property.
- Threat: Intrusion of any part of any instrument or any part of a person's body inside the external boundaries of a structure or unit of real property.
- In the Course of Committing: Any of the defendant's acts beginning with the initiation and extending through the flight from a robbery.
Robbery Classifications and Sentences
- Class 4 Felony
- Minimum 1 years in prison / Maximum 3.75 years (no priors)
- Minimum 2.25 years in prison / Maximum 7.5 years (1 prior conviction)
- Aggravated Robbery
- Class 3 Felony
- Minimum 2 years in prison / Maximum 8.75 years (no priors)
- Minimum 3.5 years in prison / Maximum 16.25 years (1 prior conviction)
- Armed Robbery
- Class 2 “Dangerous” Felony
- Minimum 7 /Maximum 21 years
- Minimum 14 years in prison / Maximum 28 years (1 prior “dangerous” conviction)
- Permission to Enter
- Building was not a “structure” under the legal definition
- Lack of Intent
Note: State laws are always subject to change. It’s important to verify the laws you’re researching by conducting your own research or consulting with a qualified Arizona criminal defense attorney.
Robbery Law in Arizona
In Arizona, robbery is typically a felony offense. Depending on the circumstances, the offense may be charged as robbery, aggravated robbery or armed robbery.
Robbery is generally charged as a class 4 felony. A conviction requires proof that the defendant did ALL of the following:
- Took property belonging to someone else
- The taking was from the person’s body or from their immediate presence
- The taking was against the other person’s will
- The defendant used of threatened to use force against any person with the intent ti make them surrender the property or to prevent resistance to keeping the property.
The crime of aggravated robbery requires all the same proof that the crime of robbery plus an additional factor:
- In the course of committing the robbery, the defendant was assisted by an accomplice who was actually present at the scene of the robbery.
Aggravated robbery is a class 3 felony and is more serious than regular Robbery.
The crime of armed robbery requires all the same proof that the crime of robbery plus an additional factor:
- In the course of committing the robbery, the defendant or accomplice was armed with a deadly weapon, toy or replica deadly weapon, firearm, or used or threatened to use a deadly weapon, simulated deadly weapon, or any other dangerous instrument.
The element of “armed with a deadly weapon” or “simulated weapon” is satisfied if the weapon was within the immediate possession or available for use by the defendant of accomplice. The weapon does not need to be displayed or seen by the victim to satisfy those elements, but it must be present at the time of the offense. However, a verbal threat to use a weapon the defendant does not have in his immediate control doesn’t satisfy the element.
Penalties and Sentences for Robbery
Arizona has designated armed robbery and aggravated robbery as “dangerous crimes”. This means rhe judge will order mandatory prison terms with a conviction. When a weapon is involved, someone is harmed, or an imminent threat of harm occurred, penalties can be doubled form the normal non-dangerous felony sentence range.
Robbery sentencing carries a wide minimum and maximum range from 1 year up to 21 years or more in prison depending on the circumstances of each criminal count charged for the incident. Other fines, fees, restitution, or any other punishments the court deems necessary on top of minimum penalties may apply.
Research the Law
If you have additional questions about robbery charges and Arizona laws, review the following links:
Charged with Robbery in Arizona? Get Legal Help
Robbery is listed as a serious offense in Arizona’s sentencing guidelines. Anyone convicted of this crime is facing a minimum one-year prison term. Just because you’re accused of a crime doesn’t mean you will be convicted. If you've been accused of robbery in Arizona, it's a good idea to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can work with you to develop a case strategy, research evidence, and negotiate on your behalf.