Police are looking for a group of young men who have recently robbed people in downtown Chicago subway tunnels. In this post we’ll look at the different types of robbery in Illinois, their penalties, and potential defenses to a robbery charge.
Since Jan. 30, several robbery attacks have been reported to the Chicago police. Pedestrians in the Red and Blue Line subway tunnels have been attacked by several young men in a group of four or five robbers caught on video. The men have allegedly surrounded their victims, kicked or punched them, then robbed items including a phone, cash, wallets, and a designer belt. In one incident a robber showed a handgun while committing the robbery.
Different Kinds of Robbery in Illinois
The Illinois statutes define robbery as knowingly taking property (except a motor vehicle) by threatening imminent use of force or using force on a person. Robbery is a class 2 felony in most cases, with a penalty of 3 to 7 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines with mandatory parole for 2 years. It can be raised to a Class 1 felony if the robbery is committed against an elderly or disabled person or committed in certain protected places. A Class 1 felony conviction will result in 4 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. A mandatory 2-year parole sentence also applies.
Aggravated robbery occurs when an individual verbally indicates that he or she is armed with a dangerous weapon, whether a weapon actually exists or not. The charge of aggravated robbery also applies if the offender delivers a controlled substance to the victim without the victim’s consent so that property can be taken. A Class 1 felony applies to aggravated robbery.
Armed robbery occurs when an individual carries, is armed with, or discharges a firearm during the course of a robbery. Armed robbery is a Class X felony and can have extended prison sentencing under certain circumstances. The sentencing will range from 6 to 55 years in prison or possibly a life sentence. A fine of up to $25,000 will also apply, along with a mandatory parole sentence of 3 years.
The robbery of a motor vehicle is treated separately by Illinois law. An individual who takes a motor vehicle with the threat or use of force can be charged with vehicular hijacking. The charge can be raised to aggravated vehicular hijacking under certain circumstances. Vehicular hijacking is a Class 1 felony, and aggravated vehicular hijacking is a Class X felony.
Robbery in Illinois can take different forms, like the following:
- Larceny—taking items when possession is not granted
- Home invasion—a robber enters a home knowing that people are present and forces them to hand over their valuables
- Looting—taking items in a natural disaster or situation of political unrest
- Using false pretenses—an offender’s intent can be proven if false pretenses are used
- Bank robbery—falls under federal law, whether a weapon is used or not
Multiple charges of robbery can result in enhanced penalties and sentencing.
Defenses to Robbery Charges in Illinois
If you are facing robbery charges in Illinois, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to fight your charges with one or more of the following defenses:
- Lack of intent—you had no intent to take property from another person
- Lack of knowledge—you did not know you were committing robbery
- No bodily injury was caused—this can reduce your charges
- No force or threat of force was used—this fact can also reduce your charges
- No property (or vehicle) was taken from another person—if proven, this defense can get your charges dropped
- Intoxication—due to the effects of alcohol or controlled substances, you were unaware of your actions
It’s important to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as robbery charges are filed against you. Since robbery charges are felonies, they each come with severe sentencing of prison time and steep fines. A skilled attorney will work to get your charges reduced or possibly dropped, depending on the unique details of your case.
If you face robbery charges, you may feel overwhelmed. You may not know where to turn. You can trust a knowledgeable attorney with a proven track record of success with others in your situation. We can help you avoid the long-term consequences of a felony charge, which can affect your ability to secure employment, get loans, and receive certain licenses. Call us today for a free case review.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Association, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.