Excluding murder and a few other charges, armed robbery is one of the most serious charges you can face in Washington state. The sentence for armed robbery is severe, and fighting this charge without legal assistance is incredibly difficult.
The good news? Being charged is not the same thing as being convicted. With an understanding of your charge and the right legal defense, you may be able to avoid the penalty for armed robbery. This blog post will walk you through everything you need to know about armed robbery in Washington state. Read on to learn more, or contact Will & Will for legal help.
Defining Armed Robbery in Washington State
In 2019, 1,940 people were arrested for robbery in Washington state. Of those, 406 were arrested with a firearm, knife, or club in their possession. That means they were likely to be charged with armed robbery, and they were facing severe penalties.
Under the Revised Code of Washington, Section 9A.56.200, you aren’t actually charged with “armed robbery.” Instead, you’re charged with robbery in the first degree if any of the following are true:
- You had a deadly weapon on you during the alleged robbery.
- You displayed “what appears to be” a gun or other deadly weapon.
- You hurt someone during the crime.
- You robbed a financial institution, such as a bank.
If that describes the situation you’re being accused of, you are likely charged with a Class A felony.
Sentence for Armed Robbery
The sentence for armed robbery is defined under the Revised Code of Washington, Section 9A.20.021. Technically, the maximum sentence for a Class A felony is life in prison. However, your actual sentence would depend on your criminal history.
Some other circumstances can change the length of your potential sentence. For instance, the fact that there was a weapon involved means that the prosecution could pursue a weapons enhancement, which could add five years to your sentence.
Penalties for Armed Robbery
The potential jail time for armed robbery seems like punishment enough, but that’s not all you could face. You could also have to pay fines of up to $50,000 if you’re convicted. You’ll also be considered a felon, which means you may face trouble getting a job or securing certain types of housing.
Also, keep in mind that an armed robbery conviction is a “strike” under Washington’s three strikes law. That means you could face life in prison if this is your third strike. And even if it isn’t your third strike, a conviction adds a strike to your record, making future charges even more serious.
First-Offense Armed Robbery
The penalty for armed robbery can range widely. Many people in your shoes have never been charged with this crime before, so it can be hard to know what to expect. If you’re charged with first-offense armed robbery, you likely won’t face the maximum sentence. With no criminal history, you could be sentenced to 31 to 41 months in prison.
However, it’s important to remember that you could face other charges or enhancements related to the incident in question. These factors can increase your sentence. For instance, if it’s your first offense, you would be facing an additional five years in prison if a gun was used, or two years if it was any other type of deadly weapon.
Defense Against Armed Robbery
We’ve spent the first part of this article talking about the problems with being charged with armed robbery. And the penalty for armed robbery can be shocking. But now, it’s time to discuss the potential solution to this problem: building the best possible legal defense.
Here are some of the potential steps an experienced and qualified attorney might take to help you defend against this charge:
- Review all of the evidence against you.
- Look for additional evidence that could aid in your defense, such as proof that you were somewhere else when the crime occurred.
- File motions to try to suppress pieces of evidence against you.
- Look for issues with the way the police and prosecution handled the investigation and your arrest. If any are identified, argue that the charge should be dropped or the evidence thrown out.
- Challenge the quality of any video footage or photos that identify you as the perpetrator.
- Question the truthfulness and accuracy of any witness testimony.
- If you confessed, argue that your rights were violated and you were coerced.
The exact steps to reduce or avoid a sentence for armed robbery will depend on the details of your unique case. The trusted criminal defense lawyers at Will & Will can take an in-depth look at your case and tailor a strong defense to your circumstances.
Contact Will & Will for Armed Robbery Defense
You want to avoid jail time for armed robbery — even if it’s first-offense armed robbery. No one wants to be behind bars. We understand that, and we’re ready to help.
With more than 35 years of experience, the husband and wife legal team at Will & Will knows how to fight your charge, get you the most lenient possible sentence for armed robbery, and even get your charge dropped if the conditions are right. In other words, we’re ready to help you get your life back.
To get started, reach out to us. Give Will & Will a call at 206-209-5585 or contact us online today.