In Colorado, Robbery is defined as taking something of value from another person by force or intimidation. Robbery is generally a class 4 felony. However, if the person charged is also accused of using a deadly weapon during the alleged robbery, the correct charge would be Aggravated Robbery, which is an extraordinary risk class 3 felony. Aggravated Robbery might also be charged where the alleged robber pretends to have a deadly weapon, hits or wounds someone, or has an accomplice present who does any of those.
What Does Robbery Really Mean in Our State?
The elements of Robbery have required some clarification from Colorado courts through the years. That is because they are extremely broad as written. As described above, there is no clear requirement that the taking of the thing of value be otherwise illegal, or even improper. Many decades ago, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that taking property under a claim of right (meaning the person taking it is legally entitled to it), does not constitute robbery. People v Gallegos, 274 P.2d 608, 1954. In that case, the Court ruled that a creditor can collect from a debtor, even using intimidation, without being convicted of robbery. Even though the definition does not necessarily say so, the idea was that there must be an intent to steal. However, in 2003 the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the robbery statutes even limit rightful owners in the manner in which they attempt to reclaim their own property. People v. Scearce, 87 P.3d 228. Here, the courts seem to be struggling to apply limits and context to a very broad statute that provides little guidance of its own. One reason this is important to a person accused of robbery, as it is with any broad statute, is that in a criminal trial it is vitally important that the defense help the court define the alleged crime very carefully for the jury. The fact demonstrated here is that it would be very easy for a jury without any context or limiting instructions to nod along with the prosecution and apply this statute, as it is written, to an assertive debt collector.
Call Us Now for Help
There are very few criminal charges for which an accused should attempt to defend themselves. Robbery and aggravated robbery qualify as violent crimes, and may be subject to longer sentences, and more severe punishment overall. As violent felonies, convictions for both robbery and aggravated robbery will likely have life-long consequences for the accused. These cases motivate law enforcement and prosecutors, and they have the potential to frighten jurors and even judges. Now is the time to hire an attorney who is motivated to defend your rights. Attorney Vernon Ready can objectively evaluate the prosecution’s evidence, and work with you to prepare and present your best defense. Let’s get to work. Call our office to schedule a consultation.