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An Indianapolis Robbery Defense Lawyer Explains Armed Robbery Charges, Penalties, and More

If you’re facing armed robbery charges in Indiana, you need to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. The Hoosier State treats these charges seriously, so your freedom and reputation are at stake. Greater Indianapolis robbery defense lawyer Josiah J. Swinney can craft a strong defense if you are staring down an Indiana armed robbery sentence. Keep reading to learn more about this offense, including how it differs from unarmed robbery.

What Is Armed Robbery? Should You Hire an Indianapolis Robbery Defense Lawyer?

Per Indiana Code § 35-42-5-1, robbery occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly takes property from another person by threatening them or otherwise inducing fear. This offense escalates to armed robbery when the act is accompanied by the use of a deadly weapon. In both situations, hiring an experienced Indiana robbery defense lawyer is vital to protecting your rights and future.

The Difference between Unarmed vs. Armed Robbery

The difference between unarmed and armed robbery is the addition of a deadly weapon. Indiana Code § 35-31.5-2-86 defines a “deadly weapon” as any of the following:

  • A firearm, loaded or unloaded;
  • Any item or substance that is, could, or is intended to be used to cause serious bodily harm;
  • An animal that is capable of causing bodily injury; and
  • Biologic agents that can cause serious bodily harm.

If a weapon is not used in the course of committing a robbery, the defendant will be charged with a Level 5 felony in most cases. Robbery charges in Indiana increase to a Level 3 felony when the offense is committed with a weapon. You can learn more about Indiana felony levels in this blog.

What Is the Indiana Armed Robbery Sentence if Convicted?

As mentioned above, the State of Indiana treats armed robbery as a serious felony offense. As such, the penalties associated with this crime are pretty severe.

If a robbery is committed without the use of a deadly weapon, does not result in injury to another person, and does not involve taking a controlled substance from a pharmacist or pharmacy, the charge in Indiana is a Level 5 felony. A Level 5 felony can result in one to six years of imprisonment, with an advisory sentence of three years, and up to $10,000 in fines.

The penalties for a Level 3 felony—the charge for armed robbery—on the other hand, are more severe. While the monetary penalties are the same as the Level 5 offense, those charged with a Level 3 felony in Indiana will face anywhere from three to 16 years in prison, with an advisory sentence of nine years, if convicted.

In addition, the charges can be elevated to a Level 2 or Level 1 felony if the incident resulted in the serious injury of another person and/or the robbery involved taking a controlled substance or substances from a pharmacist or pharmacy. These charges can lead to a sentence of ten to 40 years in prison, along with the same fines of up to $10,000.

A skilled Indianapolis robbery defense lawyer can investigate the evidence in your case and help determine if it is possible to reduce or eliminate the charges—and any related Indiana armed robbery sentence—against you.

Defenses to Armed Robbery in Indiana

When it comes to defending armed robbery charges in Indianapolis or throughout Indiana, you’re likely not going to be able to use a common defense such as self-defense that may be relevant in other criminal cases.

Instead, your lawyer will likely need to take another route. Here’s an overview of some possible common defenses to armed robbery in Indiana:

Insufficient Evidence

In all criminal matters, it is up to the prosecutor to shoulder the burden of proof. In other words, the other side must prove that they have enough evidence to support the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If they fail to do this, the outcome is more likely to be in your favor.

Inadmissible Evidence

The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizure of their person or property. If evidence against you was gathered as a result of an unlawful search and seizure, and your attorney can prove this, that evidence cannot be used against you.

Witness Misidentification

Eyewitnesses to a crime may have the best intentions when they identify a person as the individual who committed the offense. However, research has found that eyewitness misidentification is far too common. Your Indianapolis robbery defense lawyer can work to prove that you were not at the scene of the crime and have been misidentified if this is the case for you.

Affirmative Defenses

In some cases, your Indianapolis robbery defense attorney may raise an affirmative defense to prove you are not criminally liable, even if you did commit the act in question. These defenses include entrapment, necessity, and insanity, among others. The burden of proving the affirmative defense is on the party who raises the defense, so your attorney will need to have strong evidence to support this defense.

Differences between Robbery, Burglary, and Burglary with a Deadly Weapon

Robbery is often confused with burglary, but they are two separate crimes. While robbery is classified as an offense against the person, burglary is an offense against property. Per Indiana Code § 35-43-2-1, burglary is defined as the act of breaking into a building or home with the intent to commit a theft or felony offense. This act is considered a Level 5 felony and includes the penalties noted above.

However, it will be classified as a Level 2 felony if it is committed with a deadly weapon (such as those mentioned above). A conviction for burglary with a deadly weapon can result in a sentence of ten to 30 years and fines of as much as $10,000 in Indiana.

Hire an Indianapolis Robbery Defense Lawyer and Defend Your Freedom

If you’re facing an Indiana armed robbery sentence, there is simply too much at stake to not hire a qualified, experienced lawyer.

If you need defense for robbery charges in Indiana, look no further than Indianapolis robbery defense lawyer Josiah Swinney at Camden & Meridew, P.C. Josiah has years of experience representing greater Indianapolis residents facing criminal charges, he remains up-to-date on legislative changes to Indiana criminal laws, and his office at Camden & Meridew, P.C. is conveniently located in the Carmel-Fishers area of Hamilton County. If you’re subject to a criminal prosecution in Hamilton or Marion Counties or the surrounding areas, schedule a consultation with Josiah via phone at 317-770-000 or through this online contact form.