Knowingly stealing directly from another person by use of force, threats or intimidation is robbery. Colorado recognizes three types of robbery, which include robbery, aggravated robbery and robbery of controlled substances. Each type has serious consequences which could result in prison time.
If you or someone you know has been charged with robbery, it’s important you gain legal representation. Robbery is a serious crime in Colorado, and you could be burdened with felony charges. To protect rights and your freedom, it’s recommended you speak to an attorney.
Robbery Attorney in Colorado Springs, CO
Robbery charges could potentially end in a felony. That is why it’s highly advised that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. A theft lawyer can assess the situation to see what the next best step is. They can even formulate a strong defense to fight your charges.
Call Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC to get in contact with a skilled lawyer today. Our attorneys will go to battle for you using our extensive knowledge and resources. With Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC, you can rest assured someone is attending to your case day and night. Contact us now at (719) 328-1616 to set up a consultation today.
Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater Colorado Spring area including Fountain, Calhan, Manitou Springs and Monument.
Overview of Robbery in Colorado
- What Constitutes as Robbery in Colorado?
- Colorado Penalties for Robbery
- Aggravated Robbery in Colorado
- Penalties for Aggravated Robbery
- Possible Defenses
- Additional Resources
What Constitutes as Robbery in Colorado?
Robbery is a form of theft under Colorado law. The crime can be found in the Colorado Revised Statutes Article 18 Part 4, which states it’s illegal to knowingly take anything of value from another person by use of:
- Threats; or
Using force or fear to commit the crime is one of the main elements of robbery. However, if you were taking something that belonged to you or returning it to the rightful owner, then it isn’t considered robbery. The property must belong to another person for you to be charged. Threat is defined under Colorado case law as a declaration of purpose or intention to work injury to the person, property, or rights of another by the commission of an unlawful act. Schott v. People, 174 Colo. 15, 482 P.2d 101 (1971).
This statute also requires the taking be from another person or their presence of anything of value by threats, force or intimidation. A person cannot be guilty of robbery, even using force, threats or intimidation if they take a person’s property outside the victim’s presence. In other words, a person breaking into a home that is vacant or the occupants are not home at the time might be guilty of burglary and other crimes but would not be guilty of robbery even if force, intimidation or threats are involved.
In fact, the force does not need to be contemporaneous or at the same time as the taking to be considered a robbery under Colorado law. People. V. Villalobos, 159 P.3d 624 (Colo. App. 2006). An example of this could be a person whom makes a threat to do an illegal act at a later time or if certain conditions are not met, and then subsequently takes the property.
Anything of value is a very broad term and covers almost any conceivable item, property or similar thing that has any value whatsoever. Please note, the statute does not state or require it to be of a monetary value, so arguably a person could be charged for taking something from someone by force, threats or intimidation for taking san item that had sentimental value to the alleged victim (for example a gum wrapper their late relative gave them as a joke). The statue does seem to implicate a possible monetary value however, case law has found that the amount of the property taken is not an essential element of the offense. In other words, in cases involving Robbery, the kind and value of the property taken is immaterial. Sterling v. People, 151 Colo. 127 (1962).
Robbery does include that taking of property of another if the taking is completed by a snatching of property attached to another person if force is used to break or tear the attachment. People v. Davis, 935 P.2d 79 (Colo. App. 1996). Commonly called a snatch and grab, this makes grabbing a woman’s purse a possible robbery if force is used and the purse is “attached”. Other examples include key lanyards and cards that are attached by string, rope, cord or chain and a wallet where the chain is attached, for purposes of the Colorado law, and could elevate a simple pick pocket theft charge into a felony robbery.
Property is taken from the presence of another if, it is taken directly from that person, if it is within the person’s reach, inspection or observation (they can see it) that he or she would be able to retain control over the property but for the force, threats, intimidation. People v. Villalobos 159 P.3d 624 (Colo. App. 2006). Property can also be taken from the presence of another if the accused was found to have lured them away from the scene of the taking or forced them away (defendant was found guilty for robbery of stealing a cash register outside the victim’s presence but imputed the victim’s presence to the cash register since the defendant had lured the victim to another room before attacking the victim and incapacitating them from being able to be near the cash register. People. V. Clemons 89 P.3d 479 (Colo. App. 2003).
A person can also be convicted of Robbery for taking their own property back (anything of value), if taken by force, threats or intimidation. The Robbery statute endorses the basic public policy that even rightful owners should not be permitted to use force to regain their property once it has been taken. People v. Scearce 87 P.2d 228 (Colo. App. 2003). Although, the taking of property under a fair claim of right of possession does not constitute robbery as when a creditor takes money or property from his debtor. People v. Gallegos, 274 P.2d 608 (1954),
Colorado Penalties for Robbery
Robbery without any aggravating factors is a class 4 felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 6 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $500,000
It’s important to note you must complete a mandatory 3 years of parole if you’re convicted of robbery. If the victim was elderly or disabled, then the penalties are enhanced by:
- Up to 12 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $500,000
Robbing an elderly or disabled person has a mandatory prison sentence of at least four years with a mandatory five-year parole upon release.
Aggravated Robbery in Colorado
If certain factors exist within the crime, then your robbery charge may be elevated to aggravated robbery. Aggravated robbery has enhanced penalties and even longer mandatory sentences. You could be charged with aggravated robbery if you:
- Possessed a deadly weapon or disguised another item so the robbed person believes it’s a deadly weapon;
- Were armed with a deadly weapon and had intent to kill, maim or wound another person if there was resistance;
- Wound or strike another person with a deadly weapon; or
- Threaten or intimidate another person with bodily injury or death with a deadly weapon
It’s important to note that if your accomplice and not you did any of the actions above, you could still face aggravated robbery. You can also be charged with aggravated robbery of controlled substances if you:
- Commit aggravated robbery; and
- The purpose of the robbery is to steal controlled substances from a pharmacy or pharmacist or any other lawful place where drugs are possessed
Penalties for Aggravated Robbery in Colorado
An aggravated robbery can result in a class 3 felony, which can lead to:
- Up to 16 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $750,000
The sentencing includes a mandatory parole sentence of five years. If you used or threatened the victims with a deadly weapon or anyone was seriously injured during the crime, then the maximum prison sentence is enhanced to 32 years.
Aggravated robbery of controlled substances is a class 2 felony that can result in:
- Up to 48 years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $1,000,000
You must complete a mandatory five-year parole if you’re convicted of aggravated robbery of controlled substances.
A person can argue several defenses right out of the plain language of the Robbery statute itself. For example, a person can argue they that did not take anything by force knowingly (practically certain), that they did not take anything of value from another person, that they did not use force, threats or intimidation in recouping the property or that the property was taken by force (but you have a valid legal claim to the property) and that the property was taken by force but not from another or in their presence. A person can also argue that any property had been previously abandoned and was there for the taking.
There are also many affirmative defenses experienced criminal defense attorneys like the attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC that can defend you in your case in order to obtain the best possible results in your case. Affirmative defenses that can be asserted in a Robbery case (depending upon the circumstances) are as follows:
- Consent can be a valid defense to a possible robbery charge. In essence, the defendant is saying, yes I took that item and possibly by force, but they gave it to me and agreed to me taking that item (it is important to note the victim cannot consent if forced or threatened – in other words, it has to be true, freely given consent and not coerced or threatened consent).
- Ignorance of the law or mistake of fact can also be argued as a possible defense to a robbery charge if the mistake of fact negates the existence of an essential element of the crime, namely the mental state required for commission of the crime (mens rea – required for almost all crimes in the United States and Colorado). Mistake of fact can also be a valid defense if the mistake or the mental state resulting therefrom is a kind that supports a defense of justification as defined in C.R.S. § 18-1-701 – 18-1-707 (execution of a public duty, choice of evils, use of physical force – special relationships – defense of another, self-defense, make-my day-law, defense of premises, defense of property and use of force in making an arrest or preventing an escape). You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney like the attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC, to guide you on which of the affirmative defenses are applicable to your case facts and circumstances and to guide and defend you throughout the process.
Robbery is a class 4 Felony in Colorado and carries a presumptive range of 2-6 years in the Department of Corrections (prison). If the sentence is aggravated it could be from 4-12 years prison and if the sentence is extremely mitigated, it could be as little as 6 months prison. Robbery is not a mandatory sentence crime in Colorado which means a person can receive probation, community corrections, jail or work-release as a condition of probation or DOC.
*****PLEASE NOTE******** – a conviction to a robbery charge can preclude a person from being eligible for probation (without a waiver from the District Attorney’s Office) if they have two (or more) prior felonies and a prior and/or the current conviction is for a robbery (or other enumerated crime). In essence, if a person has two prior convictions and pleads guilty to a robbery or another enumerated crime, they are not eligible for probation without agreement by the District Attorney’s Office. This would affect any person with a robbery on their record, assuming they have two prior felony convictions under Colorado Revised Statute §18-1.3-201 (2.5)(b).
Aggravated Robbery is defined under Colorado Revised Statute §18-4-302 as a person who commits robbery is guilty of aggravated robbery if during the act, or the immediate flight therefrom, he is armed with a deadly weapon with intent, if resisted, to kill, maim or wound the person robbed or any other person, or he knowingly wounds or strikes the person robbed or any other person with a deadly weapon, or by the use of force, threats or intimidation with a deadly weapon, knowingly puts the person robbed or any other person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury or he has present a confederate (accomplice), aiding or abetting the perpetration of the robbery, armed with a deadly weapon, with the intent either on part of the accomplice or defendant, if resisted, to kill, maim or wound the person robbed or any other person, or he knowingly wounds or strikes the person robbed or any other person with a deadly weapon, or by the use of force, threats or intimidation with a deadly weapon, knowingly puts the person robbed or any other person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury or he possess any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead any person who is present reasonably to believe it to be a deadly weapon or represents verbally or otherwise that he is then and there so armed.
Aggravated Robbery is a class 3 felony and it is an extraordinary risk crime (pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute §18-1.3-401 (10) and punishable as such and is a crime of violence requiring mandatory sentencing under C.R.S. §18-1.3-406. That means a person convicted of Aggravated Robbery faces a sentence of 10-32 years mandatory department of corrections (even if you were the judge’s son or daughter the judge is required to give a person convicted of Aggravated Robbery 10 years minimum prison, when the ordinary person convicted of a class 3 felony non-crime of violence would face 4-12 years prison). Because Aggravated Robbery is a crime of violence a person convicted of that crime has to serve more time than a person convicted of a non-crime of violence would have to serve on any prison sentence. A person sentenced to prison on a crime of violence is statutorily required to serve 75% of their sentence prior to being parole eligible.
Due to the extremely serious nature of Aggravated Robbery and the mandatory sentences associated with it, it is vital that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side throughout to defend you and help you navigate through the process, presenting defenses and mitigation in your case.
The defenses and affirmative defenses listed above can also possibly be a defense to the charge of aggravated robbery. An experienced criminal defense attorney like those at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC, can help explain which defenses could be applicable to your case as well as help develop those defenses for trial or use in the plea-bargaining process.
Some affirmative defenses such as alibi are time sensitive and need to be raised in a timely fashion or a defendant can be prohibited from using those defenses at trial. This is another reason why a person facing charges such as robbery should immediately consult with an experienced professional attorney such as those at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC.
Colorado Revised Statute §18-4-303 defines Aggravated Robbery of a Controlled Substance as a person who takes any controlled substance defined in Colorado Revised Statute 18-18-102 (5), from any pharmacy or other place having lawful possession thereof or from any pharmacist or other person having lawful possession thereof under aggravating circumstances defined under Colorado Revised Statute 18-4-302 (Aggravated Robbery Statute) is guilty of Aggravate Robbery of a controlled substance. Aggravated Robbery of a controlled Substance is a class 2 felony and is punishable under ordinary circumstances by 8-24 years in prison.
Robbery is an extremely serious crime, is often considered a crime of violence (requiring any defendant sentenced to the Department of Corrections to serve 75% of their sentence prior to being eligible for possible parole) which requires a skilled criminal defense attorney to defend against those charges.
Colorado Violent Crime Statistics – Visit the official website of the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) to learn more about their violent crime statistics. Access their infograms along with their 2017 violent crime data in the state of Colorado.
Robbery Laws – Visit the official website of the Colorado Revised Statutes to learn more about their theft laws. Access their legislation to find out the penalties for robbery and other related crimes such as aggravated robbery or burglary.
Defense Lawyer for Robbery in El Paso County, CO
If you or someone you know has been charged with robbery or any other related theft crime, it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can analyze your charges and help you create a strong defense plan.
Call Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC to learn more about your legal options today. Our team of experienced defense lawyers can assist you. You can schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney by calling (719) 328-1616. Our legal team represents people throughout El Paso County and surrounding counties including Denver County and Araphaoe County.