Armed Robbery Charges and Laws in Washington State

In the state of Washington, armed robbery is robbery in the first degree and is labeled as a class A felony, as per RCW 9A.56.200. Penalties depend upon several mitigating factors, including the severity of the criminal actions and the existence of any weapon enhancements. If convicted, the defendant will face jail time and large fines.

Defining Robbery

RWC 9A.56.190 explains that a person commits robbery when he or she “unlawfully takes personal property from the person of another or in his or her presence against his or her will by the use or threatened use of immediate force, violence, or fear of injury to that person or his or her property or the person or property of anyone.”

The crime is considered robbery in the first degree, when the person:

  • is armed with a deadly weapon;
  • “displays what appears to be a firearm or other deadly weapon”;
  • inflicts bodily injury; or
  • commits the robbery against a financial institution.

Elements of Proving Robbery in the First Degree

In order to be convicted of robbery in the first degree, the prosecution will have to prove that you:

  • took something that belonged to a person (unlike theft, which could involve just taking something from a store);
  • carried the property away;
  • intended to permanently deprive the victim of the property;
  • used force or fear to retain the property; and
  • used, or made it appear as you were using, a deadly weapon.

The prosecution’s case must be strong enough to convince a judge or jury that the above elements are true beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury has a degree of doubt, they must acquit you.

Armed Robbery Means Stiff Penalties

In Washington, punishment for a class A violent felony such as armed robbery varies according to the accused’s past criminal record. If it’s a first time offense and the defendant has no other criminal history, the judge might order a 31- to 41-month sentence.  Repeat offenders could get 15 years in prison. Fines can range up to $50,000.

If the prosecution decides to pursue a weapon enhancement, you could face an additional five years imprisonment. And, because robbery in the first degree counts as a strike in Washington State’s three strike law, if it’s your third strike, you could face life imprisonment.

Challenging Robbery Charges

Given the gravity of the potential penalties you face if convicted, it’s essential to hire an attorney familiar with criminal cases of this nature. Your attorney can work to challenge the prosecution’s evidence.

Defense strategies may include:

  • filing motions to suppress identification evidence;
  • challenging evidence regarding weapons if law enforcement failed to follow protocol;
  • filing discovery motions;
  • arguing the reliability of video footage based on its poor quality;
  • arguing that confessions were obtained due to coercion; and
  • challenging the prosecution’s witnesses’ testimonies.

Call a Criminal Defense Attorney

For an attorney who knows the ins and outs of Washington criminal laws, call the Law Offices of Daryl Graves. We represent people in all walks of life who have been charged with crimes such as armed robbery in Tacoma and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a case evaluation – (253) 383-7777.

Client Testimonial:

Efficient, fair tactful representation.

“Mr. Graves successfully dismissed a potential felony misdemeanor, which may have cost me my custody case and my livelihood. Daryl identified the key prosecution components and laid a foundation of complete cooperation, trust and transparency. He arranged an interview with the lead detective allowing insight into the motives of my case to which the detective understood my position and recommended no further investigation. Daryl provides the insight into how to take the high road, and build trust with apposing council. In my case all charges dismissed even with incriminating evidence. The difference was explaining. “the why”, to the detective, prosecutor and judge in a thoughtful, respective, professional, and personal manner; while impressing upon them how anyone would have reacted similar in my situation, because we are all human. No hesitation recommending him to my closest friends.”

–C.F., Satisfied Client

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Daryl Graves Law, PLLC practices primarily in the areas of criminal defense law and personal injury. If you are seeking representation in one of these, or simply have a question that you would like to ask an attorney, feel free to call Daryl Graves Law, PLLC at 253-383-7777 or complete the form below.