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Massachusetts Robbery Laws

Taking someone's property without their permission and with the intent to permanently deprive them of it is theft. The offense of robbery is essentially a theft in the victim's presence through the use of force or violence. Because it involves force and violence, robbery is usually considered a much more serious crime than theft.

In Massachusetts, the robbery laws cover various offenses under the criminal code. However, the main distinction among the robbery offenses is whether the act involved a weapon. Just as the element of force or intimidation can shift a theft offense into a robbery offense, the presence of a weapon can elevate an unarmed robbery charge to armed robbery. The penalties are also enhanced if the victim is aged 60 or older.

An Overview of Massachusetts Robbery Laws

You should be aware of the literal language in a statue and everything that it entails. However, when you just need a quick answer or want information prior to working with an attorney, a simple summary of the law can be helpful. The chart below provides an overview of Massachusetts' robbery laws.


Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265:


Elements of the Crime



Unarmed Robbery:

  • The taking was from another or from their person;
  • The larceny was conducted by force or violence or by assault or putting the victim in fear; and
  • The perpetrator took the victim's property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property rights.

Armed Robbery:

  • The perpetrator possessed a dangerous weapon or threatened to use the weapon (you don't actually have to use the weapon to be charged with this crime);
  • The victim was physically hurt or the perpetrator made them fear for their safety; and
  • The perpetrator took the victim's property against their will or intended to steal the property.

Possible Penalties

Unarmed Robbery: Punishment varies from a prison term ranging from several months to life imprisonment.

Unarmed Robbery (Victim aged 60 and up): Any term of years in prison up to life imprisonment. Mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years for second or subsequent offense.

Armed Robbery: A minimum penalty of 5 years in prison for a first offense; for second or subsequent offenses, a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison is required

Armed Robbery (Victim- aged 60 and up): Up to life imprisonment. Mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years for a second or subsequent offense.

Related Offenses

Massachusetts General Laws:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Massachusetts Robbery Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Robbery Charges from a Massachusetts Attorney

If you're been accused of violating robbery laws in Massachusetts, you're facing some serious charges. Even if you're charged with unarmed robbery, the penalties are strict. The best thing to do is to contact a skilled criminal Massachusetts attorney attorney who will evaluate your case, gather evidence, and let you know the available options for your defense.

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