In Massachusetts, armed robbery is a serious felony punishable by up to life in state prison. Under Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 265 Section 17, an armed robbery occurs when an individual, armed with a dangerous weapon, assaults another and robs, steals, or takes money or other property from the victim. Committing an armed robbery while disguised or wearing a mask, or while armed with a firearm, shotgun, rifle, machine gun, or assault weapon are aggravating factors that carry mandatory minimum state prison sentences.
An armed robbery charge is outside the jurisdiction of district courts in Massachusetts and must be indicted and prosecuted in superior court unless the prosecution enters a nolle prosequi, or dismisses, reduces or amends the charge. A number of factors are considered when determining whether to indict an individual on armed robbery charges, including the strength of the evidence, criminal history of the defendant, cooperation of the alleged victim(s), and severity of the allegations.
Potential Penalties For Armed Robbery In Massachusetts
Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 265 §17, the maximum penalty for armed robbery in Massachusetts is life in state prison. However, the sentencing judge has wide discretion when imposing a sentence and will consider a number of the same factors the prosecution evaluates when determining whether to present to the grand jury and seek indictment.
In cases where the defendant was masked or disguised, the prison sentence is a minimum five years state prison upon a conviction and a minimum 10 years state prison for a guilty finding on a subsequent offense. Any person convicted of an armed robbery while armed with a firearm, shotgun, rifle, machine gun, or assault weapon will be sentenced to a minimum five years state prison for a first offense and a minimum 15 years for a subsequent offense.
Potential Defenses to Armed Robbery Charges
While not all potential defenses work in every armed robbery case, a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer will evaluate the evidence and conduct an independent investigation before determining which potential defenses may be effective. Depending on the strength of the evidence, as well as the credibility and cooperation of the Commonwealth’s witnesses, below are some possible defenses to armed robbery charges:
- Misidentification (wrong person): this defense may be effective in a case where the defendant and alleged victim do not know each other or there is a questionable identification. A misidentification defense may be available in certain situations where the defendant has an alibi witness.
- False Allegations: this defense can be effective in cases where the defendant and alleged victim know each other, there is limited or zero physical evidence, and the alleged victim has motive to lie.
- No money or property stolen
- No dangerous weapon
When do I need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you have been arrested, charged, or contacted by police for questioning, it is important to meet with a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney as soon as possible for a consultation. At Riccio Law, we represent individuals charged with armed robbery and other serious felonies in federal court and state courts all throughout Massachusetts. Do not hesitate to call 508-226-4500 or click here to start your free consultation with Riccio Law.