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Aggravated Robbery

Robbery or aggravated robbery charges in Arizona are serious offenses that come hand in hand with personal, financial as well as professional consequences. Aggravated robbery charges differ from robbery charges because apart from requiring the use of violence or threats against someone to obtain possession of the property, aggravated robbery requires that the perpetrator commits the crime with the help of an accomplice.

If you or a loved one has been accused of aggravated robbery in Phoenix, AZ, the Phoenix Criminal Attorney can assist you. We have a team of highly qualified attorneys who are ready to defend you if you are facing aggravated robbery charges.

What Does "Robbery" Mean Under Arizona Law?

Robbery under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1902 is the taking of someone else's property unlawfully and against their will while using force or threat of violence to persuade the victim to give up the property.

It's important to note that offenders can be charged with robbery even though they don't use or attempt to use force on the purported victim. Any threat made against any individual while stealing property is enough to get you charged with robbery.

  • The term "threat" under this statute refers to a physical or verbal threat of immediate bodily harm to an individual
  • The term "force" refers to any physical action used against an individual to seize dominance or property

A threat or application of force doesn't need an individual to act in any of the following ways:

  • A lethal weapon
  • A potentially hazardous instrument

Instead, such items are needed if you're charged with aggravated robbery or armed robbery.

What Does "Aggravated Robbery" Mean Under Arizona Law?

A person is charged with aggravated robbery under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1903 in Arizona if they do the following:

  • Perpetrate a robbery crime
  • Do so with the assistance of one or more accomplices

An "accomplice" is somebody who intentionally and deliberately assists someone else in committing a crime.

What Proof Is Needed to Prove Aggravated Robbery?

There is a thin line between robbery and aggravated robbery. Bringing an accomplice with you is all it takes to be charged with aggravated robbery. When someone commits aggravated robbery as per A.R.S. 13-1903, it means that with the help of an accomplice, they're taking another person's property unlawfully and without their consent, they are committing the crime with a weapon, or by using unreasonable force.

The fundamental factors that must be demonstrated in robbery prosecutions are specifically outlined in Arizona's criminal code. Stealing another person's property, using threats or force, and intending to rob their victim of possessions with the assistance of an accomplice all need to be proven for you to be charged with aggravated robbery. Armed robbery is also classified as aggravated robbery.

In the Company of an Accomplice

This is a distinguishing factor between a robbery and an aggravated robbery. An accomplice is a person who actively assists in the execution of an offense without having to participate in the crime, according to the law.

A person who aims a firearm at the cashier demanding money has perpetrated armed robbery. Anybody who helped the gunman might be labeled an accomplice. As a result, the driver of a getaway car, any individual who holds the doorway, and the person who offers a place to hide out after the offense has been committed might be considered an accomplice. Even if they didn't perform the main crime, these individuals all assisted or supported the robber and are thus guilty of being accomplices.

Taking Someone Else's Property

The prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant took someone else's possessions from their person unlawfully.

First and foremost, it must be established that the possessions taken by the accused did not belong to him or her. To put it another way, the stolen possessions did belong to someone else.

Second, the possessions in question must've been seized off the victim's body or within proximity of that victim to be lawfully convicted of robbery. This implies the accused should have seized the item from his or her victim directly or within their proximity.

Finally, the victim's possessions must've been seized from him or her without his or her consent. This signifies that the alleged offender stole someone else's property by force. This could also indicate that the offender forced the victim to give up possession of the property. In Arizona, if one of these factors can be demonstrated, you will be charged with robbery.

Threats of Violence Used to Perpetrate the Crime

The utilization of threat of force against your victim is another crucial aspect that must be established in a robbery. The prosecution must show that the accused used or intended to use threats of bodily force while stealing the property. This can take the form of bodily force, threatening statements, or both.

In Arizona, you can't be prosecuted for robbery unless this aspect can be demonstrated.

Intent to Deprive

Finally, the prosecution must show that the accused took their victim's possessions with the intent of depriving them of his or her possessions. This implies that the accused must have taken someone else's property with the intent of gaining control of it and depriving its owner.

Again, as per Arizona law, if this aspect cannot be demonstrated in court, you cannot be convicted of robbery.

Possible Legal Defenses to Charges Brought Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1903

Each case is unique in its circumstances. The legal defenses should be similar to those employed in the robbery as well as armed robbery. It will, however, entail defenses targeting the participation of one or more co-conspirators or those charged with assisting the offender(s) in the act. The following are some possible Aggravated Robbery defenses:

No Accomplice

Remember that in aggravated robbery cases, people can only be found guilty if they had an accomplice when committing the crime. As a result, legal defense for an offender is to establish that he/she committed the act alone or without the help of an accomplice. Take into account that the actual robbery allegations may still be pursued against the accused.

No Use of Force

A further legal defense is that you didn't employ force or threats. In robbery instances, the employment of force or threats is a crucial aspect that must be demonstrated. If there's no proof that you employed physical violence or threatened someone, you will not be prosecuted with aggravated robbery.

If you stole somebody else's possessions without using force, you could still be charged with theft, which is a less serious crime in Arizona.

There is no Intent to Deprive

Further, you can not be prosecuted for robbery when you didn't aim to deprive your victim of their possessions. This could mean that you didn't intend to take someone else's property or perhaps you did so accidentally. It could indicate that you didn't intend ahead of time to seize the property.

If this is the case, robbery charges may not be brought against you.

Rightful Claim

Robbery charges can only be brought against offenders if they unlawfully take property from somebody else. Defendants must then demonstrate that there isn't any underlying robbery since they were attempting to keep the property that they have a legal claim.

Other legal defenses that can be used in this case include:

Mistaken Identity

In robbery instances, victims often misidentify offenders. This happens because offenders usually try to perpetrate crimes at night or when wearing masks or disguises. This suggests that an accused can always use mistaken identity as a defense.

Factual Error

You had no understanding or awareness of the illegal situation. An individual, for instance, paid for products and believed they had made a legitimate retail transaction. However, the salesperson did not check every item or forgot to remove the tags. As soon as you walked out of that store, the unpaid merchandise set off the alarm.


In a robbery case, the state has the duty of showing beyond a shadow of a doubt that the offender committed the offense. Because of the burden of proof, an accused can easily evade a criminal charge by contesting the prosecutor's evidence or presenting evidence that challenges the prosecutor's case.

An aggravated robbery offender, for instance, could submit alibi proof that they had traveled out of the state a few days before the incident happened and could produce witnesses to confirm that fact. Witness accounts, identifications, surveillance footage videos, and other proof provided by the prosecutors could all be challenged by your defense.

It's worth noting that the offender does not have to thoroughly persuade a jury of their innocence. Rather, the jury can deliver a "not guilty" verdict when the accused is capable of throwing a shadow of a doubt on the prosecutor's allegations.

Involuntary Intoxication

An accused person can also use intoxication as a legal defense to an aggravated robbery allegation. A criminal act that is undertaken while intoxicated is usually excused if the intoxication is caused by events beyond the accused's control. The accused should show that they were intoxicated without their consent.


The defendant may have been entrapped if someone forces them to execute a robbery that they'd never have perpetrated otherwise. Entrapment arguments are challenging to establish, but if the accused can demonstrate that the individual who's been robbed initiated the incident deliberately to bring allegations against them, they may be able to claim that their victim lured them into doing the crime.


The defendant could have a solid defense to the aggravated robbery accusations if they can establish that somebody compelled them to execute the robbery by intimidating them with imminent death or physical injury. For the accused, proving duress could be challenging. Furthermore, several courts have dismissed this argument since the accused lacked a reasonable fear of danger or had enough chance to avoid the heist without incurring injury and death.

Penalties for Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated robbery is a serious felony in Arizona. As a result, if convicted under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1903 is classified as a Class 3 felony.

  • First offense: Two to almost nine years in prison; fines ranging from $750 - $150,000; restitution; assessments; fees; costs
  • Second offense: A 2.25 – 7.5 prison term; fines ranging from $750 to $150,000; costs; assessment fees; reparations
  • Third offense: A 6 – 15 prison term; fines ranging from $750 to $150,000; costs; assessment fees; restitution.

If defendants have previous offenses under this provision, their prison terms will be increased.

Related Offenses

Aggravated robbery is related to three offenses. These are the following:

  • Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1802, Theft
  • Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1507, 2nd-degree burglary
  • Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1204, Aggravated Assault

Theft Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1802

An individual can perpetrate an Arizona theft crime in a variety of ways, according to Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1802. This includes situations in which an individual willfully:

  • Uses somebody else's possessions to deprive the owner of it indefinitely
  • Taking someone else's possessions after being given the responsibility with the possessions and acting without authorization to use the good
  • Gains someone else's service/ property by deceit
  • Takes possession of lost possessions without making an honest effort to locate the rightful owner
  • Controls the possessions of someone else while knowing or suspecting that the property has been stolen
  • Utilizes services without purchasing them or offering sufficient consideration in any other way

An individual also perpetrates theft under Arizona's criminal laws if, without legitimate authorization, the individual:

  • While serving in a role of confidence and trust, deliberately takes charge, possession, usage, or administration of a defenseless adult's possessions
  • Acts to take the possessions from the defenseless adult.

In the context of this code:

  • "Property" refers to all kinds of both personal and personal property and
  • A "defenseless adult" is a person who is 18 years or above and who, due to mental or physical incapacity, is incapable of protecting himself or herself from maltreatment, neglect, or manipulation by others

A defendant who is convicted of theft doesn't have to indefinitely deprive the holder of that item. All that is required of the defendant is to steal any possessions with the purpose to deprive its proprietor for an extended period.

Burglary in the Second Degree Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1507

Second-degree burglary is committed when someone unlawfully enters or remains in/on a residential property/building (in contrast to a business or non-residential building) in Arizona. He or she does so intending to commit a criminal act or theft while inside.

For the sake of this penal code provision, an individual "enters" a building when he or she crosses any form of the building's outer boundaries, like a window, door, or wall. An individual can then penetrate a building by simply prying open a door with a pry bar.

Any building, whether immovable or movable, temporary or permanent, that's suitable for both personal dwelling and accommodation, whether inhabited or not, is referred to as a "residential structure."

Here are a few examples of residential structures:

  • Apartments
  • Homes
  • Campers and motorhomes
  • Cars (according to the details of the matter)
  • Boats

A secured or fenced residential property, on the other hand, is not regarded as part of the home. A burglary that happens on this sort of property is covered by Arizona's 3rd-degree burglary statutes under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1506.

When it comes to committing a theft to aid in the execution of a burglary offense, keep in mind that the crime doesn't have to be completed satisfactorily. To be found guilty as per this legislation, defendants must simply have planned to perpetrate such offenses.

The most significant distinction between 1st and 2nd-degree burglary is the former necessitates the offender to have:

  • A lethal weapon
  • A potentially harmful device
  • Explosive

Aggravated Assault Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1204

If a person perpetrates an assault against someone, he or she is convicted of aggravated assault under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1204

The assault is carried out using specific aggravating elements. The most basic criteria entail when the crime is committed and if:

  • It causes substantial bodily harm to another person
  • A lethal weapon or a harmful tool is used by the accused
  • The defendant employs force on his or her victim that leads to significant deformity or damage or impairment of a part of the body
  • It occurs after penetrating a person's residence
  • It is perpetrated against a minor under the age of fifteen

Instances of aggravated assault also occur when the offense is conducted against a:

  • Law enforcement or peace officer
  • Firefighter
  • An instructor or school staff
  • When acting as a prosecutor or a public defender in the course of your official duties
  • A healthcare professional or a practitioner of healthcare services
  • Park ranger

Find a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

Given the seriousness of an aggravated robbery allegation, it is critical to prepare yourself to face a trial if charges are leveled against you. So, speak with a Phoenix criminal defense attorney who is equipped with the skills to defend your freedom and rights. If you are facing aggravated robbery charges in Phoenix, we at Phoenix Criminal Attorney are here to defend you. Get in touch with us today at 602-551-8092.

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