Robbery is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada, and is viewed by the courts as one of the most serious violent crime offences.
It may be charged with other theft and theft-related or weapons charges. See the criminal code penalty chart » for the possible ramifications of being found guilty to a robbery charge – which can include several years of minimum imprisonment – even in the case of a first offender.
This depends upon the circumstances and facts of each individual case. Some factors the Court will consider are what words and gestures were used by the accused person, and whether the accused was wearing any unique clothing such as a mask.
A threat of violence can include any action taken by the accused that would lead the victim to reasonably believe that physical injury would result. The Court will consider whether the actions and words of the accused could reasonably create such a feeling of apprehension on the part of the victim. For example, handing a bank teller a note demanding money can constitute a threat and meet the requirements for robbery.
The violence involved in a robbery can be as simple as an assault against the victim. An assault does not need to cause any physical injury – it only requires the application of force or threatening the application of force without consent. Therefore, threatening to physically harm someone during the course of stealing something from that person will constitute the use of violence required for robbery.
Identification can often be an issue in a robbery case as often there are disguises or masks used. The Crown Attorney must prove all the element of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt, including that it was you who committed the robbery. Identification will often be based on the victim’s testimony, however there may be video surveillance of the actions in question.
As with any other offence, Charter violations could present a defence, such as the right to counsel and the right to a trial in a reasonable period of time.
Although not necessarily a defence, you could be convicted of a lesser offence such as assault or theft. A conviction for assault or theft certainly would be better than a conviction for robbery.
Where an accused person is alleged to have committed a robbery while armed with an offensive weapon, it is not necessary that the accused used or intended to use the weapon in any manner, only that he or she was in possession of the weapon during the course of the robbery.
Given the serious nature of these offences, a Crown/prosecuting attorney will usually screen Robbery charges for a considerable period of jail or prison, depending on the accused’s prior history and the events relating to the charge. Negotiating with the police is something that will rarely, if ever, work out favourably with a person charged or under investigation for this crime. Negotiating with the Crown attorney is the job of a lawyer.
Robbery is a very serious criminal offence and one which you can expect to receive a jail sentence if you are convicted. Generally, the starting point is anywhere from 2 to 3 years in jail, although there can be mitigating factors that reduce the length of the jail sentence. The maximum penalty for robbery is life imprisonment. There are also circumstances where a minimum jail sentence is imposed. For example, where a firearm was used during the robbery there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 years in jail..
No, a conditional sentence is not available if you are convicted of robbery. You must serve your sentence in a jail or penitentiary. A conditional sentence is a jail sentence that you serve in the community.
How can a Conviction for Robbery Affect Me?
If you are convicted for robbery:
- • You may not be able to travel to other countries.
- • You may lose your current job.
- • You may not be able to get a job in a particular profession.
- • You will have a criminal record.
- • You will not be able to apply for a record suspension until 10 years after you have completed your sentence.