Robbery is defined in the Criminal Code under section 343 as a theft committed using some form of violence. However, this is a simplified definition. Robbery can consist of theft or extortion of property, through the use of a weapon, violence, or threats of violence.
In order to be charged with robbery, both the elements of theft and assault must be present either at the same time or within a close timeframe.
While the use of physical harm or the use of a weapon is not essential to a robbery charge, the presence of these factors may be considered when it comes to sentencing.
Offences Related to Robbery
When it comes to robbery, here are some related charges:
- Possession of a weapon
- Breaking and entering
- Armed robbery
Consequences of Robbery
A first offence of robbery often results in jail time even where the amount of violence is relatively minimal. This can range from several months to many years. The maximum possible penalty for robbery is life in prison. There are instances where convictions carry automatic minimum jail sentences such as:
- Where a firearm was used and the offence was committed in association with a criminal organization, there is a 5-year mandatory minimum for a first offence and 7 years for a second or subsequent conviction
- 4-year minimum where a firearm is used
Frequently Asked Questions about Robbery Charges in Alberta
1. What does the Crown Prosecutor have to prove in a robbery case?
The Crown Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) you moved, started to move, or caused something to be moved that belonged to someone else, (2) that you moved this property with the intent to steal it and without the owner’s consent, and (3) that there was violence, a threat of violence, or some form of weapon used in the commission of the theft.
2. What are the best defences against a robbery charge?
There are a number of ways to defend an individual accused of robbery. Firstly, your defence lawyer can argue that the Crown prosecutor has not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
If applicable, your lawyer can also argue that your Charter rights were breached during the course of the police investigation. If this argument is successful, the court may exclude evidence, or even enter a stay of proceedings.
Finally, it’s possible to defend against the charge of robbery if you were high on drugs/medication or intoxicated and didn’t know what you were doing.
3. Can I get a conditional sentence for a robbery charge?
Unfortunately, conditional sentences are not an available sentence for a robbery conviction.
4. What is the difference between robbery and theft?
Although robbery and theft both involving stealing something that lawfully belongs to someone else, robbery includes the additional element of the presence of violence including physical violence and threats. This makes robbery a more serious charge than theft.
I’ve Been Charged With Robbery. What Should I Do?
You need to get in touch with a criminal defence lawyer right away! Contact DDSG Criminal Law today for legal representation and to ensure that your rights are protected.