Robbery, including unarmed robbery, is a very serious offense in Massachusetts. It is a felony that can only be resolved in the Superior Court and carries the potential for a maximum sentence of life in prison.
What separates robbery from larceny is the use of violence, or the threat of violence that puts a person in fear. M.G.L. ch. 265, sec 19(b) provides:
“Whoever, not being armed with a dangerous weapon, by force and violence, or by assault and putting in fear, robs, steals or takes from the person of another, or from his immediate control, money or other property which may be the subject of larceny…”
The prosecutor must prove 4 elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Those elements are:
- That you stole or took money or other property from a person,
- That property would be subject to larceny,
- That you did so with force or violence, or placed the person in fear of violence,
- That you were not armed with a dangerous weapon at the time.
Section 19(a) provides a separate offense if the victim is over 60 years old. It carries the same maximum penalty of life in prison, but these cases usually are taken more seriously by the prosecutor, the judge, and likely a jury, too. A second offense of unarmed robbery of a person over 60 carries a mandatory minimum of 2 years in prison, with a maximum of life in prison.
With the stakes so high, it is very important to have a good attorney work on your unarmed robbery case. There are various defenses to unarmed robbery and our attorneys can identify instances where a faulty or unduly suggestive identification was performed, whether evidence was seized illegally, or if the allegations lack probable cause. Our attorneys can also use their years of experience to negotiate the charges down to less serious offenses, like Larceny from a Person.
If you are facing a charge of unarmed robbery, call us today at (617) 723-4163 for a free case evaluation.
Criminal Defense FAQ
As a criminal defense lawyer, the fact that you clicked this accordion drives me crazy!
NO, you shouldn't! At least not without a lawyer after careful consideration.
Think about it. The police have a job, which is to solve crimes and bring criminal charges. The only reason for them to call you is because they are looking for evidence and there is no better evidence than your statement. Very often, they are calling you because they don't have enough evidence to charge you yet and they're looking to make their case with your statements.
They are not your friends. They are not trying to help you. There is nothing to "clear up". They will not go away if you just admit it and take responsibility.
Seriously, don't speak to the police without consulting a criminal defense lawyer first. It may be that we ultimately decide to give a statement, but only if it will help your case and after careful consideration!
First, unless you have committed a very serious crime, the chances of you going to jail are minimal (especially if you hire a good attorney). In any event, this is not something that typically would happen until many months down the road.
We're not going to lie to you, if the prosecution can meet the burden of proof on your case, there will be consequences, ranging from a slap on the wrist to jail time. Our job is to minimize the consequences and to eliminate them, if possible.
Of course, this depends on the charges, your criminal history and many other factors, so please feel free to reach out and we can give you a more specific answer.
No, no, no, no no! Even if you decide to eventually take responsibility, your lawyer should negotiate the best deal possible. What this means depends entirely the circumstances of your criminal charge, but very often you can take responsibility and still avoid a permanent criminal record. It may also involve:
- Pre-Trial Probation or Pre-Trial Diversion
- An outright Dismissal of your charges upon payment of court costs
- A Continuation Without a Finding, including the length and terms of your probation (after which the case is dismissed)
- A period of straight probation without a jail or state prison sentence
- A suspended sentence, where a sentence is imposed, but not served unless probation is violated
- A lesser sentence to jail or prison and less severe conditions upon release
This is to say nothing of the fact that your case may be winnable on a motion to dismiss or at trial!
In many cases, yes. Some cases have issues that may justify a Motion to Suppress or a Motion to Dismiss for lack of evidence.
Others can and should be taken to trial, or call for a plea as soon as possible so the client can move on with their life.
The decision on what to do really depends on the facts of the case and your individual goals.
This is why it is important to speak to an experienced Massachusetts criminal attorney who can quickly evaluate your specific case to see if there are any issues worth pursuing.
Strategy and Potential Issues in Massachusetts Criminal Cases
It is very possible that you can avoid a criminal record, especially if you don't have a significant criminal history and and it is a relatively minor offense.
The answer to this question is very case-specific, depending on the facts of your case and what we decide to do with it.
A vast majority of our criminal cases cases are handled on a flat fee basis, ranging from a clerk-magistrate's hearing to superior court or federal court cases.
All we can tell you is that we are always up front and honest, and will treat you fairly. We're also willing to work with you on payments if we can, as this is not all about the money.
Of course, it is prefereable to have an attorney at the arraignment, but don't panic! First, you can call or text me at any time and I may be able to be there. If not, take a look at this link for all the information you need: