Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

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Defending Against Armed Robbery Charges

A man in Canton was recently arrested after law enforcement claimed that he robbed a CVS with an AIDS-filled syringe. The Canton Police Department soon responded to the scene, where they informed by a store clerk that a man had robbed the store with a syringe filled with the AIDS virus. 

The robber was later seen in a nearby parking lot. When law enforcement approached the man, he ran from the scene. Law enforcement eventually caught him at a nearby gas station and subdued him with a Taser. An investigation is still ongoing, but the man has since been charged with armed robbery.

If you or a loved one faces a charge of armed robbery, it is important to understand that this is classified as a serious criminal offense in Massachusetts and the penalties can be harsh. There are, however, several ways to defend against armed robbery charges. The best defense begins with an understanding of how these charges are made.

The Elements of a Massachusetts Armed Robbery Charge

To be convicted of armed robbery, four elements must be satisfied:

  • The defendant must have been in possession of or threatened to use a deadly weapon. While this often includes guns and knives, it can also include more unusual things like a syringe full of the AIDS virus. The actual weapon need not be used during the robbery, but the threat of a weapon is sufficient. 

  • The victim must have been physically hurt or the defendant’s threat of harm must have made the victim fearful of being harmed. 

  • The defendant must have taken the victim’s property or the prosecution must show that the victim intended to steal the property. 

  • The defendant must have taken the property against the victim’s will.

If a person is convicted of armed robbery, there is the potential that he or she could end up spending life in prison. At a minimum, a person convicted of armed robbery in Massachusetts can receive a sentence of five years in prison.

Ways to Defend Against Armed Robbery Charges

There are fortunately several grounds on which to base a strong-armed robbery defense. Some of these defenses include:

  • Arguing that the prosecution has failed to prove every element of the criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution can meet this standard, the robbery charges must be dropped. 

  • Sometimes, it is possible to argue that law enforcement arrested an individual based on instinct rather than probable cause. There must be evidence that the individual committed the criminal offense for an arrest to occur. 

  • One of the most common ways to get a charge dropped is arguing that law enforcement performed an unlawful search or seizure. If an individual is charged with armed robbery because of evidence that was illegally obtained, a Fourth Amendment argument can be used.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Armed robbery is a serious crime in Massachusetts and results in substantial penalties. As a result, it is critical to retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to respond to these charges. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free initial case evaluation.