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Tennessee Robbery Laws

The terms theft and robbery are sometimes used interchangeably. However, that's not accurate because they are in fact two separate, albeit related, crimes. All robberies involve a theft (unlawful taking of property with the intent to deprive the owner), but not all thefts are robberies. What distinguishes the two offenses is that a robbery is a theft that involves the use of force or violence.

In Tennessee, there are three categories of robbery: robbery, aggravated robbery, and especially aggravated robbery. The specific charges will depend on whether you used a deadly weapon and whether the victim suffered serious bodily injury.

Aggravated robbery is equivalent to "armed robbery" in other states. For the weapon requirement, you don't have to really use the weapon on the victim. For instance, if you point to your pocket as if you're packing a gun, leading the victim to reasonably believe that you have a weapon, that action would meet the requirement and could trigger aggravated robbery charges.

An Explanation of Tennessee Robbery/Aggravated Robbery Laws

A good way to get a handle on the law is by using an easy-to-read guide. The chart below is just that as it explains robbery laws in Tennessee in everyday language, rather than legal jargon.


Tenn. Code Annotated:


Elements of the Crime


Robbery: Intentional theft of property from another person by violence or putting the person in fear.

Aggravated robbery: Robbery that includes the following:

  • Use of a deadly weapon or a display that can lead the victim to reasonably believe the presence of a deadly weapon; or
  • Where the victim suffers serious bodily injury.

Especially aggravated robbery: Robbery that includes the following:

  • Use of a deadly weapon; and
  • Where the victim suffers bodily injury.

Possible Penalties

The penalties can include a range of prison time and fines, but the actual penalties depend on individual factors such as criminal history of the defendant. The following are general guidelines of penalties for Tennessee's robbery offenses.

  • Robbery is a Class C felony, punishable by 3-15 years in prison.
  • Aggravated robbery is a Class B felony, punishable by 8-30 years in prison.
  • Especially aggravated robbery is a Class A felony, punishable by 15-60 years in prison.

Related Offenses

Tennessee Code Annotated:

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.

Tennessee Robbery/Aggravated Robbery Laws: Related Resources

Get Professional Help with Robbery Charges from a Tennessee Attorney

Tennessee's robbery laws yield very serious charges with strict penalties. If you've been accused of robbery in the state, then you need to turn to a Tennessee criminal attorney for help with your defense. An attorney can help guide you on the best way to proceed in your case.

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