What Is the Punishment for Being an Accessory to Armed Robbery?
By Space Coast Daily // March 22, 2021
Although each state has its own specific guidelines when it comes to armed robbery laws, the majority of states define robbery as the defendant obtaining the property of someone else through the use of threat, intimation, and/or force.
In the case of armed robbery, the defendant presented or used a deadly weapon to induce fear as a means of getting the victim to comply.
In many situations, the defendant can be charged with armed robber simply because the victim was in fear of being physically harmed, meaning the defendant doesn’t have to show a weapon, they just have to have it in their possession.
Robbery, regardless of whether it is first or second degree, is a felony and armed robbery is considered a more serious crime than a robbery that was committed without the threat or use of a weapon.
So, what is the punishment if criminal charges have been filed against you for accessory to armed robbery?
In order to understand the punishment, it’s important to understand what accessory to an armed robbery means.
What is Accessory to Armed Robbery?
When it comes to being an accessory to armed robbery, there are a variety of terms that relate to the charge, including:
■ The principal, which is the person that actually committed the crime; however, it’s important to understand that the accessory may be charged as severely as the principle.
■ Conspiracy, which means that the accessory has provided assistance to the principal, prior to the commission of the robbery; the accessory actively participated in a conspiracy instead of simply having knowledge of the crime
An accessory to an armed robbery is someone that helped the principle to enable the crime but did not commit the crime themselves.
A legal term “guilty mind” or “mens rea” means that the principle or the accessory must be aware of the fact that their actions will or did help in the commission of the armed robbery, so they can’t be an accessory to the crime unknowingly.
In other words, the accessory to the crime has typically provided the principal with the opportunity or the means to commit the crime.
Does an Accessory Have to Be Present at the Crime?
Being an accessory to armed robbery simply means that the person enabled the commission of the crime, which means that they aren’t or didn’t actually participate in the commission of the crime.
For instance, an accessory to armed robbery may have provided the principle with access to the weapon or provided information that would enable the principle access to the person or property that was robbed.
The accessory doesn’t participate in the actual robbery, but they assisted in some way with the principle allowing them to carry out the crime.
In some situations, a person may be labeled as an accessory even if they have reasonable suspicions that their assistance will be used to commit the armed robber but chose to go ahead with the action anyway.
This is known as criminal facilitation and is as serious as the crime of accessory. An individual may be charged as an accessory to armed robbery before or after the fact.
Accessory before the fact means that assistance was provided to the principle before the crime is committed and accessory after the fact typically means assistance was provided after the crime was committed, such as helping the principle conceal the crime or failing to report the crime to the proper authorities.
The majority of laws prevent the person from being charged as an accessory to the armed robbery (or other crime) until the person that committed the crime is convicted.
Punishment for Being an Accessory to Armed Robbery
Due to the distinction of “mens rea” and establishing that that the accessory was fully aware of the robbery, the accessory usually receives the same punishment as the person that actually committed the crime.
The punishment for participating as an accessory to armed robbery will be as severe as the principle because the accessory had the potential to prevent the armed robbery, either by informing the proper authorities or by not cooperating with the principle.
The sentencing guidelines for a charge of armed robbery are typically severe; however, there are several factors that may affect the punishment and its severity.
Armed robbery is generally considered a Class A or Class One felony, which are the most serious and they usually incur the most harsh and longest prison sentencing.
In order to be found guilty of first-degree armed robbery, the defendant had to have committed a robbery with a weapon, an object that was perceived to be a weapon by the victim.
If the principle is charged with first degree armed robbery, in the majority of situations, an accessory will also be charged with first degree armed robbery.
Although the sentencing guidelines typically take the history of the defendant into account, even if it is a first offense, those found guilty of armed robbery are typically sentenced to a long prison term and it’s likely that a repeat offender may face life in prison.
The punishment for armed robbery will also take into account the circumstances of the crime.
For instance, if the armed robbery was in concurrence with other crimes, such as an injury or murder, the sentence will generally be longer.
The punishment for armed robbery may vary depending on the severity of the crime, the type of weapon that was used during the commission of the crime and if there were injuries or death that resulted from the crime.
If criminal charges filed against you for accessory to armed robbery, it is critical that obtain the services of a criminal attorney that is experienced in these types of crimes.