Section 97(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 states that whosoever, being armed with an offensive weapon, or instrument, or being in company with another person, robs, or assaults with intent to rob, any person, or stops any mail, or vehicle, railway train, or person conveying a mail, with intent to rob is guilty of a criminal offence. This offence is more serious than the lesser charge of robbery and therefore stricter penalties apply. Alternatively, Section 97(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 details armed robberies with dangerous weapons, which again attracts a higher maximum penalty if found guilty.
In order to understand the offence of armed robbery, it is important to understand what the law constitutes as dangerous and offensive weapons. The Crimes Act defines an offensive weapon as:
- A dangerous weapon, or
- Any thing that is made or adapted for offensive purposes, or
- Any thing that in the circumstances, is used, intended for use or threatened to be used for offensive purposes, whether or not it is ordinarily used for offensive purposes or is capable of causing harm.
Meanwhile, the Crimes Act defines a dangerous weapon as:
- A firearm, or an imitation firearm, within the meaning the Firearms Act 1996, or
- A prohibited weapon within the meaning of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998, or
- A spear gun.
As a leading criminal law firm based in Sydney, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders have widespread experience in a vast range of criminal offences including armed robbery.
If you or someone you know is facing charges of armed robbery, contact our expert criminal defence lawyers now for a confidential consultation.
If found guilty of armed robbery, there are various penalties that the Court may enforce. If you are charged with armed robbery with an offensive weapon, you may be liable to a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment as stated under section 97(1) of the Crimes Act 1900. Meanwhile, if you are charged with the more serious offense of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, you may be liable to the maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment as stated under section 97(2) of the Crimes Act 1900.
It is important to understand that the offence of armed robbery is perceived to be one of the most serious offences and if found guilty it is highly likely that a full time custodial sentence will be imposed. In fact, Crime Statistics Australia states that in between 2015-2016, 72% of armed robbery offenders received a full time custodial sentence.
However, it also crucial to understand that the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal has handed down a guideline judgement which provides guidance to how Judges should sentence robbery offences. The guidelines that apply to armed robbery offences are:
- Young offender with no or little criminal history
- Weapon like a knife, capable of killing or inflicting serious injury
- Limited degree of planning
- Limited, if any, actual violence but a real threat thereof
- Victim in a vulnerable position such as a shopkeeper or taxi driver
- Small amount taken
- Plea of guilty, the significance of which is limited by a strong Crown case.
Offences that relate the above guidelines typically fall between 4 and 5 years imprisonment. However, aggravating offences will generally result in higher penalties, while less serious offences may have a reduced sentence.
Other penalties that the Court may enforce based on the circumstances of the offender could include intensive correction orders, home detention, fines, community service orders or a good behaviour bond.
With 25 years of experience, our criminal defence law firm has a profound understanding of armed robbery charges and the particular penalties that are likely in particular circumstances.
If you are facing charges of armed robbery, contact our Sydney based criminal defence lawyers for a consultation to discuss the penalties that you are likely to be facing.
In order to be found guilty of armed robbery, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following:
- That you were in possession of a weapon or instrument and used or threatened to use that particular instrument of weapon
- That you had the intention to steal something from another person
- That you in fact threatened to use force on another individual
- And that you did take property or money from the victim.
If you agree with these claims, you may enter a guilt plea. If this is the case, you will then proceed to sentencing. While a guilty plea means that you could be facing the maximum penalty, as mentioned in the guideline judgements above, a guilty plea may reduce the sentence imposed after consideration of all the facts. A reduced sentence of 4 or 5 years is a much more favourable outcome in comparison to the maximum penalty of 20-25 years imprisonment. The Court may also impose other, less severe penalties as they see appropriate.
If you or somebody you know has been charged with armed robbery, it is advised to contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer immediately.
As some of Sydney’s best criminal lawyers with success in defending similar cases, call us for a consultation for the most accurate and appropriate advice.
If you choose to plead not guilty in relation to charges of armed robbery, the Police will need prove that you did commit the crime as per section 97 of the Crimes Act 1900. If they are successful in proving these claims, you may be convicted and therefore the above penalties could be imposed.
For your best chance to avoid potentially significant penalties, it is advised to seek legal representation from expert criminal defence lawyers. Our criminal lawyers will then disprove the claims against you by using a relevant defence strategy. If we are successful, the Court may completely dismiss the charges in which you will no longer be facing the penalties stipulated by the Crimes Act 1900. In other instances, our defence strategies may result in a less serious sentence or a downgraded charge that has less severe penalties as opposed to the maximum sentence.
Regardless, as an award winning criminal law firm, we are proud to be some of Sydney’s best criminal defence lawyers. Our lawyers are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for the cases we represent.
If you are facing charges relating to robbery, contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders for a consultation.
If you or someone you know is facing charges of armed robbery, and should you choose our expertly qualified team to represent the case, we may choose to argue the below defences.
Duress: Arises in situations where unlawful coercion has been used to persuade the accused to the criminal activity and would not usually be something they would do if the threats had not been present. Coercion typically takes form of harmful threats such as death or grievous bodily harm in which the accused believes that if they do not participate in the activity, they can be at risk.
Necessity: Although typically difficult to prove, the defence of necessity can be argued in situations where it is found that the accused was in imminent danger by either human or natural forces. Our criminal defence lawyers will need to establish that activity was only undertaken in order to avoid consequences that were deemed as “irreparable evil”. It must also be proven that the accused was in “imminent peril” and that they had no other alternatives to avoid the impending threat.
Honest Claim of Right: Encompasses situations in which the accused has a bona fide claim in which they holistically and genuinely believe they’re entitled to the property that was stolen.
At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are highly experienced in representing clients at Local, District and Supreme Courts in NSW. Should you be charged with armed robbery, you can be confident that our criminal defence lawyers are expertly dedicated, committed and proficient to handle your case regardless of the particular Court the matter is heard at.
For a consultation for more accurate advice pertaining to your matter, please contact our Sydney based criminal lawyers now.