At Lawtons we have a team of specialist solicitors who are experienced in all cases of robbery.
Robbery and the law
An offence under the Theft Act 1968, the criminal act of robbery occurs when a theft takes place using force, or there is a threat to use force with the intention to steal.
Any element of force must be shown to be associated with the theft to be successfully prosecuted as robbery.
Many offences of theft can be classed as robbery, including:
- Street robberies
- Commercial robberies
- Vehicle theft
- Bank robberies
Armed robbery is a term used to describe a robbery which involves the use of a weapon such as a firearm.
What is the maximum sentence for robbery?
Robbery is an indictable only offence and as such can only be heard in the crown court in front of a judge and jury. The only exception to this trial process is if the offender is a youth, in which case the offence will be heard in the youth court, unless the court decides that the case is so grave and serious that it should be sent to the crown court. This will only happen if the youth court considers that there is a real risk that a custodial sentence of youth detention longer than two years may be necessary as a punishment.
The maximum sentence for robbery in the UK is life imprisonment, however the court will consider a number of options before the appropriate sentence is decided upon. The court will also have to consider whether the offender should be classified as a ‘dangerous’ person.
Armed robbery will be charged with a more severe sentence than robbery without a weapon.
A crown court judge will use three levels of severity when deciding upon a sentence for robbery:
- Level one – robbery using minimal force
- Level two – robbery using a weapon
- Level three – robbery using a weapon with considerable force which causes injury
The court will also consider certain factors which, if present in the robbery, will increase the level of severity of the sentence:
- If the victim was vulnerable
- If a number of people were involved in the offence
- If the defendant was the primary leader in the robbery
- If the items stolen were of a high value
- If the offence took place at night
- If the defendant was wearing a disguise
Factors which reduce the severity of the offence will also be taken into consideration, including:
- Whether the offence was opportunistic
- Whether the defendant had a minor involvement in the offence
- If any property that was stolen was voluntarily returned
What to do if you are accused of robbery
If you are accused of robbery you should seek specialist legal advice as soon as you are able to do so. This is a complex area of the law with severe associated penalties, so expert representation is essential, particularly prior to a police interview.
For more information or to discuss an individual case with our team of specialist solicitors, please get in touch or call us on 0333 577 0522.
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