Robbery is a crime that involves stealing something from another person, either by force, fear, or intimidation. These two elements are critical to proving that robbery has taken place, not only must there be theft, but also threat of, or use of force. This distinction is what makes robbery a different crime than theft or burglary.
Missouri recognizes varying degrees of robbery. The “degree” refers to the amount of force or threat of force displayed in the robbery. For example, first-degree robbery is similar to aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. A common example of first-degree robbery is a holdup at a liquor store where the suspect has a gun.
An important note about the crime of robbery is that because threat of force is an element of the crime, a person can be charged with first-degree robbery even if the weapon used is fake. As long as the person being robbed believes that the perpetrator has a real, deadly weapon, that person can be charged with first-degree robbery. That means a person can be convicted of first-degree robbery even if the gun used during the crime turns out to only be a plastic toy.
The crime of robbery is contained in Chapter 569 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. Specifically, Section 569.020 says that a person commits robbery in the first degree when he or she forcibly steals property in conjunction with one of the following additional actions:
- causing serious injury to another person;
- being armed with a deadly weapon;
- threatening another person with a dangerous instrument; or
- threatening another person with what appears to be a deadly weapon.
In Missouri, robbery in the first degree is a Class A felony, and carries with it a term of imprisonment that can range from 10 to 30 years.
A robbery charge, regardless of the degree, should always be taken seriously since the consequences of a conviction are so grave. Long-term loss of freedom and a permanent criminal record are just a few of the many penalties that can result from a robbery conviction in Missouri. Given the violent nature of the crime, prosecutors are often quite aggressive in their attempts to secure robbery convictions. With so much on the line, it’s crucial that you seek out an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney who will work hard to secure your freedom.