A headline last week stated that two teenagers, one if them a minor, were arrested for allegedly committing “aggravated robbery” (actually a string of aggravated robberies) in West Phoenix. Most people are aware that crimes often have several different classifications, depending upon the circumstances. Examples include assault/aggravated assault, criminal damage/aggravated criminal damage, identity theft /aggravated identity theft, harassment/aggravated harassment, etc. When the offense is labeled as “aggravated,” you can be reasonably assured that both the level of the charge and the potential penalty will be higher than its non-aggravated counterpart.
What makes a crime “aggravated”?
The first question we want to examine is what causes a charge to be labeled as “aggravated.” In the case of assault, it could be any one of numerous things, among them causing serious injuries, or assault on a minor or peace officer, among others. In the case of identity theft, the aggravating factor could be the number of identities allegedly stolen. Aggravated harassment may be charged where the harassment, if proven, could violate an existing order of protection. And there are other aggravated offenses which, for a variety of reasons, are noted in the criminal code. But what about robbery?
What is “aggravated robbery”?
Robbery is essentially a theft from another person (from the victim’s person or in his/her immediate presence), against his or her will, involving the threat or use of force. In Arizona, it is s class 4 felony. You might expect aggravated robbery to involve the use of a gun or other weapon. But that offense is separately classified in Title 13 as “armed robbery,” a class 2 felony. Nor is it the same as a “strong arm robbery” which, depending upon the state you are in, could involve the use of a weapon or another object, or the threat of such use, or the use of force without the presence of a weapon.
Interestingly, in Arizona, aggravated robbery, very simply, is a robbery by two or more accomplices. It is a class 3 felony. The notion that a robbery would be classified according to the number of participants may appear at first blush to be arbitrary. But when you consider that robbery is a violent crime, and that the participation of two or people sounds strikingly like a conspiracy to commit a crime, the distinction becomes both clear and logical.
The Feldman Law Firm PLLC
1 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004