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The definition of armed robbery is when a person steals either before or after using or threatening to use a weapon.

What is the sentence for armed robbery in 2024?

Armed robbery is typically undertaken at a bank or other commercial premises and involves a gun, knife, baton or another weapon.

armed robbery

Being convicted of armed robbery can come with a hefty sentence. Even if it’s only a ‘small’ robbery, the courts take an offence of this nature very seriously. It can even carry a sentence of life imprisonment, depending on what’s taken place. It’s for this reason that those involved can feel very worried and concerned about the outcome of a case of this nature.

Armed robbery can be something as small as mugging somebody in the street to holding up a petrol station, a bank or any other commercial business. Despite the size of the event, if a weapon is used then it will still be assigned the ‘armed robbery’ category and this could mean a hefty prison term.

When an armed robbery investigation takes place, it can be worrying for you, your family and your friends. There will be a concern that you won’t be able to secure the income to pay your mortgage, your bills or even have enough food for your family. Your life will feel unstable, and you’ll be uncertain of what the next few months can bring.

Evidence in these cases can sometimes be complicated and vast. It can range from images of you wearing a balaclava, to telephone calls that you made prior to the event to fingerprints found at the scene of the crime. In some circumstances, evidence can be complicated and vast. The prosecution will seek to prove their case with forensic or DNA evidence, mobile phone sim card analysis, identification procedures and expert reports on any alleged weapons involved.

To help you to understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of an armed robbery offence, we’ve detailed the sentencing guidelines.  Please note that a competent and experienced solicitor may be able to get a prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.

If you have a question, but you cannot find it on this page, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Read more information about the offence of Armed robbery

What type of actions are considered Armed Robbery?

Here are some examples of the different levels of an armed robbery that may be part of your situation:

  • A street mugging when only a threat to use a weapon was made and a mobile phone was stolen
  • A bank robbery that involved the use of machine guns and resulted in injury

Other armed robbery offence examples include:

  • Petrol stations and other commercial properties
  • Commercial robberies such as those involving a security van

Depending on what’s happened, you may need to answer questions about the following scenarios:

  • Why you were wearing a disguise such as a balaclava
  • Why you were using gloves
  • Why you are carrying a weapon such as a knife, a gun or other offensive weapon

There are other ways to collect evidence for police to use to build a case against you. For example, they will search for your fingerprints and any samples of DNA that they can find at the scene of the crime. In addition, they are likely to want to inspect your mobile phone to collect evidence.

If your DNA or fingerprints are found at the scene, it does not provide any information about what time you were at the scene. Our lawyers have successfully defended the accused in situations of a similar nature.

When the sentence of a convicted defendant is issued, the length will depend upon whether the armed robbery was planned, the value of the property that was taken or attempted to be taken and the depth of your involvement.

What is the average sentence for armed robbery offences?

When sentencing for armed robbery, your case will be judged on what your role was and how much involvement you had in the crime. There will also be questions about whether the crime was planned or performed on a more opportunistic and impulsive nature.

Even the most minor of robberies will be taken very seriously by the courts. The sentences given are typically 8 years down to community service, depending on whether a weapon was present.

Whether you harmed or injured a person will also be considered and this could dramatically increase the sentence, if you are found guilty.

How does a court decide on the seriousness of the armed robbery offence for sentencing purposes?

The information that judges are given with regards to sentencing are only guidelines, and each case will be looked at individually. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

Other elements of what will decide how serious the crime is include:

  • If minimal force was used
  • Whether a weapon was used
  • Whether a weapon was used, with a lot of force and/or serious injury

The following factors are also considered when the court decides which sentence to give for any crime. They will look at:

  • Your previous conviction(s)
  • Whether a large number of people were involved
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Whether you played the role of a leader in the robbery
  • The value of what was taken
  • If the offence took place at night
  • Whether the offence was planned or opportunistic
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any serious medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents
  • Whether the property that was taken was returned voluntarily

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the armed robbery sentence?

When sentencing for armed robbery, your case will be judged on what your role was and how much involvement you had in the crime. There will also be questions about whether the crime was planned or performed on a more opportunistic and impulsive nature.

Whether you harmed or injured a person will also be considered.

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. In possession of indecent images cases, they may include:

  • Whether the defendant is disabled or mentally ill
  • The age of the defendant, i.e. if they are particularly young their age may affect their level of responsibility
  • If there are previous, relevant or recent convictions
  • Suspect shows a considerable level of genuine remorse
  • A previous good character with exemplary conduct
  • If there is a learning disability or mental disorder linked to this offence
  • There have been demonstrative steps made to address this behaviour

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for Armed Robbery with a guilty plea?

In recent years, a number of changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

  • ‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.
  • If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.
  • After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten percent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.
  • If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of the armed robbery offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of an offence. These are extra elements that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that affect a dependent’s finances, property or activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of armed robbery include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Financial reporting order
  • Confiscation orders

As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.

In addition, the court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining sufficient evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How sentences can be added to national information databases

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all of these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to court and you are convicted of armed robbery, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

Literally having represented thousands of clients accused of Armed Robbery and Robbery Charges, our Criminal Solicitors have enormous expertise in this field. We have a track record of success and we are proud to list some of our notable cases in the Criminal-Cases section of the website.

Although there is no one way to get the best results when it comes to defence strategy, our criminal solicitors have deep knowledge of the different ways they will increase their chances of winning the case. This may involve inspecting all the evidence for holes, looking at all witness statements closely and viewing all forensic evidence.

Regardless of your age or your level of involvement in the allegations being made, our Criminal Solicitors will defend you with a pro-active and relentless attitude. We will scrutinise the prosecution’s case, challenge illegally obtained evidence, contest the testimony of lying witnesses and we will gather defence evidence to present in support of your case.

Allegations may involve a robbery on the street, an armoured van robbery or smash and grab from a jeweller. No matter what has happened, and how serious the crime, the person who provides you with legal help should be very experienced and knowledgeable so that you get the best possible outcome.

Our Criminal Solicitors are always keen to challenge prosecution evidence with our own expert reports and to test the accuracy of any evidence being presented against you. To that end, we have maintained close relationships with some of the best telephony analysts, computer experts and DNA evaluation specialists. Not only will we check the prosecution’s evidence, but we will also ask the expert to come to Court and give positive testimony on your behalf.

Our Criminal Solicitors will consider the number and calibre of other persons who may have been arrested on your case. Knowing how to respond to the potential of another person openly divulging material incriminatory to you is invaluable and the Criminal Defence Solicitors at this firm are rehearsed with such situations and know exactly how to best preserve your interests.

Arrest & Interview

If you are arrested, it’s critical that you take a legal professional with you to the police station. Do not attend any police interview without the guidance of an experienced armed robbery lawyer. The police are trained to secure convictions, and if this means getting you to incriminate yourself, then they will not mind too much.

Taking a lawyer with you will provide you with some form of protection. They will guide you on what to say and what not to say. They will also ask to see any other evidence that they police have against you that they may not yet have declared or shown you. It’s your right to be accompanied by a solicitor to any police meeting or for any police communication.

When it comes to devising the defence strategy, we often adopt a worst-case scenario position and work backwards, ensuring every weakness in the case is plugged. We will engage talented and motivated Barristers or QC’s to defend you and together, we can all apply many different minds to the problem and create solutions meeting your objectives.

If you have been accused of Robbery or Armed Robbery, early action in the case is pivotal to increasing the chances of success. In such intimidating and complicated investigations or prosecutions, you will require competent and expertise advice at every crossroads. To build your trust with us and to test our abilities, we will offer you a free consultation. Call us today so that you can put your mind at ease.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.

In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

Please Contact Usand ask to speak to our criminal defence lawyers and armed robber solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find at the bottom banner if you open this page on your mobile phone device.

Get in touch with us now for armed robbery legal help.


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