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What Does Aggravated Robbery Mean and What are its Characteristics?

What Does Aggravated Robbery Mean?
In most US states, the culprits of armed robberies are charged for aggravated robbery. But what exactly does an 'aggravated robbery' mean, and is it a felony?
Akshay Chavan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2019
Did You Know?
Statistics reveal that most robberies last for less than a minute.
There are several ways by which offenders steal valuable items. Making off with unattended belongings, or breaking into an apartment is one. Another way is by physically intimidating a weaker person, like a frail, elderly woman, to gain control of her belongings.
A different, more extreme way is to approach a victim with a gun or a knife, and be prepared to use it. The differences between these three approaches are quite clear. One occurs in the absence of the owner or victim, while the other two are carried out in his/her presence.
Among these situations, the third one is the most likely to cost the victim his life. This situation represents a serious offense, called aggravated robbery. Let's understand what aggravated robbery actually means, and how many years in jail an offender can get for it.
What is Robbery?
A robbery is a criminal offense in which a person unlawfully takes a property belonging to another individual, by using physical force or issuing threats.
What Does Aggravated Robbery Mean?
An aggravated robbery is a robbery with an involvement of deadly weapons, serious injuries, an accomplice, and elderly or disabled victims. Such weapons make the crime more serious than a plain robbery where weapons may not be used at all. This is the main difference between a robbery and an aggravated robbery.
Characteristics of an Aggravated Robbery
  • The offender intends to take a personal property held by the victim, in his/her clothing, worn on the body, or from an area under the victim's control.
  • The offender should have the intention of permanently depriving the victim of a personal belonging.
  • When the offender carries or threatens to use a dangerous weapon, like a firearm, knife, or club, which is capable of inflicting serious injury or even causing death.
  • When the victim has reason to believe that the offender is carrying a dangerous weapon (because of his words/actions), even though this may be untrue.
  • If the offender is carrying any object fashioned into a dangerous weapon, or if the victim has reason to believe so.
  • If the victim has reason to believe that he/she, or a relative, may suffer immediate, serious physical harm or death on offering resistance.
  • When the offender inflicts serious injury on the victim, or even tries to do so.
  • A situation where the offender brings along an accomplice who possesses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon.
  • If the offender or his accomplice have the intention of injuring, disabling, or killing anyone offering resistance, either during the robbery or while escaping.
  • In some states, the administration of a controlled substance to the victim for making the robbery easier is also considered an act of aggravated robbery.
  • If the victim is an elderly (above 65 years of age), or a disabled person.
  • A man pokes a hard object into another individual's back, telling him to give his wallet, which the latter does, fearing this object to be a gun.
  • An individual walks to the cashier in a bank, and demands money, pointing at his waistband implying that he has a gun.
  • A person points a toy gun at another, threatening to shoot if he doesn't hand over his wallet.
These are cases of aggravated robbery, because all victims had good reason to expect the offender to be carrying a dangerous weapon, whether true or not.
Aggravated robbery is considered a serious offense (felony) by most US states, and dealt with by individual state laws. Therefore, the sentence may differ from state to state, and ranges from an imprisonment of 4 years to a maximum of 15 to 99 years, or even a life sentence.
Punishment of Robbery
An aggravated robbery is categorized as a grade one, class 1, or class A felony in most states, though a conviction for an attempted offense carries a lesser sentence. The whole range of punishments for felony includes imprisonment, probation, fines, or community service.
The actual sentence depends on the seriousness of the crime, the nature of the weapon, type of injuries inflicted if any, and the value of the property stolen. In cases of aggravated robbery involving the elderly, disabled, or juvenile victims, the sentence may be greater.
Aggravated robbery is an offense dealt with severely by law, considering the danger that such offenders pose to society, and the risk of fatal injury to victims.