Armed Robbery

Armed Robbery

Lansing Michigan Robbery Defense Attorney

Armed robbery is a capital offense under Michigan law, meaning it carries a potential life sentence. It has life altering consequences and you are guaranteed a prison sentence, even if it is your first offense. If an aggravated assault occurred during the commission of the robbery, there is a minimum two-year prison sentence.  If you have a prior felony record or a firearm was used during the commission of the robbery, it only gets worse.

Armed robbery is defined under MCL 750.529 as possessing a dangerous weapon or an article used or fashioned in a manner leading any person present to reasonably believe it is a dangerous weapon or orally or otherwise represents that he is in possession of a dangerous weapon during the commission of a larceny.

What the Prosecutor Must Prove

  • Defendant used force or violence that placed the victim in fear
  • Defendant did so while committing a larceny (taking money or property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner)
  • Victim was present during the course of the larceny
  • Defendant possessed a dangerous weapon or object used in a fashion or manner of a dangerous weapon or orally or otherwise represented that he was in possession of a dangerous weapon (Note: Defendant does not actually need to have a weapon– mere implication is enough, i.e. finger in the pocket trick)

Felony Firearm

If a firearm was the weapon used during the course of the armed robbery, an additional charge of felony firearm can be added.


The maximum penalty for armed robbery is life or any term of years. If an aggravated assaulted or a serious injury was inflicted during the armed robbery, there is a minimum sentence of two years that is imposed.

Unarmed Robbery

Unarmed Robbery has the same elements of armed robbery but without the requirement of a dangerous weapon or the implication of a dangerous weapon. In other words, it is when someone uses force or violence during the course of a larceny while the victim was present. It carries a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Unarmed robbery is frequently used as a plea reduction in armed robbery cases.

Unarmed Shoplifting!

Recent caselaw permits prosecutors to charge shoplifters with unarmed or even armed robbery in certain cases. If a struggle ensues between a shoplifter and a loss prevention officer, a minor misdemeanor can easily escalate into a serious felony. If a weapon was found on your person and they believe you were attempting to use it during the struggle, you could find yourself facing life behind bars—for retail fraud! Yes, it does happen. Not only has a bad situation become worse (much worse), but now the prosecutor can give themselves more bargaining which makes it easier to scare defendants into taking pleas. That is how retail fraud or shoplifting can become a capital offense.


Carjacking is another type of robbery offense. Essentially, it has the same elements of unarmed robbery but instead of it occurring during the course of committing a larceny, it occurs during the course of committing larceny of a motor vehicle. In other words, someone uses force or violence to take someone else’s car, while they are present, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner. The victim must be the operator, passenger, or someone in lawful possession of the car. Like armed robbery, it has a maximum penalty of life in prison or any term of years.

Being charged with any type of robbery offense has drastic consequences that could forever alter your life, future, and the lives of those around you. If you have been charged with armed robbery, unarmed robbery, or carjacking, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Many robbery cases hinge on witness identification. Human memory can be very faulty and police lineups can be very suggestive and can lead to false identifications. Often they depend on circumstantial evidence recovered from the scene.

If charged, you need an attorney with experience defending robbery charges to protect your rights, prevent unreliable and false evidence convicting you, and to get the best possible outcome. Each case is different with its own unique facts. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan robbery defense lawyer today!

Defending robbery and carjacking charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Jackson, Livingston, Washtenaw, Barry, Shiawassee, Kent in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, Ithaca, St. Johns, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Ann Arbor, Hastings, Grand Rapids, Corunna, Durand.