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Armed robbery is a very serious offence that has considerable personal impacts for both offenders and their victims. If you or someone you care about is facing armed robbery charges – or is already being prosecuted – getting the right legal information is essential. In this article, we outline the offence of armed robbery, provide some examples, and detail how activities in this area are punished. We also explain whether first time offenders are likely to go to prison for armed robbery.
The offence of armed robbery in the UK is defined by Section 8(1) of the Theft Act 1968:
“A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force.”
This means that the following elements must be present for a person to be convicted of armed robbery:
Note that the use of a weapon, such as a firearm, imitation firearm, or offensive weapon, is not required for the offence of armed robbery. However, if a weapon is used, the offence will be more serious and the offender will likely face a longer prison sentence.
Armed robbery is a very serious offence and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Even if a person does not actually use force or put someone in fear of force, but simply makes them think that they are going to do so, this can still be considered armed robbery.
Here are some examples of conduct that could amount to armed robbery:
If you are suspected of committing armed robbery offences in the UK, you can expect a legal process to be initiated against you. Here’s a general overview of what may happen:
Never forget that regardless of your guilt or innocence, if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to legal representation and a fair trial. If you are concerned about the trial process, get in touch with a criminal defence solicitor who will explain everything to you and ensure all your rights are protected throughout.
The sentence for an offence involving armed robbery in the UK varies depending on the seriousness of the offence and the offender’s criminal record. That said, it remains a very serious offence and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The Sentencing Council has issued guidelines on the sentencing of robbery offences. These guidelines take into account a number of factors, including the level of culpability, the harm caused to the victim, and the offender’s previous convictions.
Aggravating factors that may increase the severity of the sentence include:
Mitigating factors that may reduce the severity of the sentence include:
Note that these are just general guidelines and, within the bounds of the law, the court has the discretion to impose any sentence it considers appropriate. For the best sense of what kind of sentence the court might impose, get in touch with an experienced criminal defence solicitor who can walk you through similar cases and advise on how a judge might read your particular circumstances.
Whether or not someone will go to prison for a first-time offence involving armed robbery in the UK depends on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the offence, the harm caused to the victim, and the offender’s personal circumstances.
Statistics show that the likelihood of going to prison for a first-time armed robbery offence is high. According to the Sentencing Council, 78% of first-time offenders convicted of robbery in 2020 were sentenced to a custodial sentence. This means that only 22% of first-time offenders avoided prison.
The most common custodial sentence for a first-time armed robbery offence is a determinate sentence, which means that the offender will serve a fixed period of time in prison. The length of the sentence will depend on the seriousness of the offence and the offender’s culpability. The average sentence for a first-time armed robbery offence is between 4 and 8 years in prison.
In some cases, the court may impose a non-custodial sentence for a first-time armed robbery offence. This could include a suspended sentence, a community order, or a curfew. However, non-custodial sentences are less common for armed robbery offences than for other types of offences.
The following factors are likely to increase the likelihood of going to prison for a first-time armed robbery offence:
The following factors are likely to reduce the likelihood of going to prison for a first-time armed robbery offence:
Overall, the likelihood of going to prison for a first-time armed robbery offence in the UK is high. The court will take into account a number of factors when determining the appropriate sentence, but the most common sentence is a determinate sentence of imprisonment.
Being convicted – or even just charged – with armed robbery for the first time can have significant impacts on your personal and professional life, which is why it is so important that you secure the advice of an experienced criminal defence solicitor as soon as possible. For a free consultation about your options, contact the team at Stuart Miller Solicitors today.
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