A Breakdown of Armed Robbery Charges in Massachusetts

Facing Armed Robbery Charges? You Don’t Have to Go It Alone.

Armed robbery charges can be tricky. They’re incredibly intimidating due to the potential for a life sentence, though a judge’s verdict is dependent on a handful of factors. Our lawyers at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP are aware that mistakes are made, but one mistake doesn’t always warrant life in prison. We’re here to educate you on how armed robbery is handled in Massachusetts, alongside yielding the best potential outcome for your specific case. For more info on Rudolf Smith, visit the website or reach out via our contact page.

Armed Robbery Charges in Massachusetts

Outlined by G.L. c. 265, 17, armed robbery in Massachusetts is defined as an assault for the purpose of robbery, stealing, taking money, or attaining property while carrying a dangerous weapon. It’s a serious felony here in Massachusetts and can call for up to a lifetime sentence in state prison, though four specific components must be proven beyond reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant must have wielded a dangerous weapon;
  • The victim’s possession(s) were taken by the defendant with the intent to steal;
  • Possessions were taken out of the victim’s control;
  • The defendant scared a victim or physically attacked them in an attempt to rob.

Before any conviction is made, however, the weapon in question needs to satisfy a few requirements to be deemed dangerous.

Defined: “Dangerous Weapon”

Although it seems as if most everyday items can be classified as a dangerous weapon, Massachusetts law has a specific definition and distinction between such items. In the eyes of the law, a dangerous weapon is any object capable of ending a life or inflicting significant injury (G.L. C. 265, 17).

Massachusetts law breaks this definition into two separate categories: firstly, an item built for the purpose of dealing harm upon another, such as guns, knives, explosives, and the like.

The second classification is for weapons that aren’t necessarily designed for harm. These include seemingly innocent objects sitting on your desk or nightstand, such as a paperweight or a lamp, that can become fatal if used in a dangerous manner. Even dogs can be considered “dangerous weapons” in specific cases.

It’s important to note, however, that use of a weapon isn’t what is judged in Massachusetts. Judges will look at whether the defendant was armed in the first place rather than actually using the weapon in a destructive manner (Commonwealth vs. Nickologines, 322 Mass. 274, 277 (1948)).

Penalties Associated With Armed Robbery

According to the Massachusetts armed robbery statute, a person convicted of armed robbery charges could last a number of years. In extreme circumstances, these sentences can extend to lifelong imprisonment. Depending on certain facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history, a judge can sentence guilty parties for as long as they see fit.

There are some other specifics as well – if you wear a mask or disguise during the act, first offenses will include five years of incarceration at the minimum. Any further offenses call for a minimum of ten years in state prison. Additionally, the use of guns and similar weapons in an armed robbery will entail five years minimum for first-time offenders, and 15 years for additional offenses.

How We Can Help

Everyone makes mistakes, and not all armed robberies are indicative of a defendant’s true character. Our associates understand this nuance and bring a unique sense of understanding to each and every case. All in all, our experts at Rudolf Smith are fully vetted to manage your case, gain you the best possible outcome, and keep you comfortable throughout it all. Visit the contact page to get in touch, or call (508) 570-3037 for a free consultation!

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