Robbery Offenses

Massachusetts Armed Robbery 

In Massachusetts, the potential penalty for Armed Robbery is up to life in state prison. In order to be found guilty of Armed Robbery, the prosecution must prove:

  • You were armed with a dangerous weapon
  • You assaulted another person
  • You robbed, stole, or took something from that person
  • What you took from the person may be the subject of larceny

Under MGL c. 265 s. 17, there are also certain aggravating factors that can give rise to mandatory minimum sentences:

If you commit armed robbery while wearing a mask or disguise, you face a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in state prison, and for any subsequent offense you face a minimum mandatory ten-year state prison sentence.

If you commit armed robbery while armed with a firearm, you face a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in state prison, and for any subsequent offense you face a minimum mandatory fifteen-year state prison sentence.

Armed robbery cases are highly complex, and when the stakes couldn’t be higher, it is important to find a dedicated, skilled defense attorney who will examine every detail of you case in order to reach the best possible outcome.  There may have been faulty identification procedures that led to the charges against you, evidence might have been obtained illegally, or perhaps the police jumped the gun when they should have actually charged you with the lesser offense of larceny from a person. In any event, do not speak to law enforcement officials until you have first consulted with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Massachusetts Unarmed Robbery

In Massachusetts, under MGL c. 265 s. 19, unarmed robbery carries up to life in state prison. The elements are the exact same as those for armed robbery, other than that of "being armed with a dangerous weapon." Because this charge is punishable only by state prison time, and a house of corrections sentence is not available, it has exclusive superior court jurisdiction. That means if the prosecution wishes to pursue this charge, it must submit the case up for indictment or a probable cause hearing to move it out of the district court.  However, if you are charged with this offense, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. If we represent you from the onset of this charge, it may be possible to convince the court to amend the charge to larceny from the person in order to keep the case in district court. This is very important- it takes any state prison sentence off the table. 

If you are charged with unarmed robbery of a person over 60 years old in Massachusetts, you face a state prison sentence, up to life in prison. While this is the same potential statutory penalty as unarmed robbery, the prosecution seeks an enhanced sentence based on the nature of this type of charge and the vulnerability of an elderly victim. A subsequent conviction for unarmed robbery of a person over 60 years old carries a mandatory minimum 2 year state prison sentence, without the possibility of early release. 

Massachusetts Larceny from a Person

In Massachusetts, under MGL c. 266 s. 25, if you commit larceny by stealing the property of another, from the person of another, you are facing a felony punishable by up to 5 years in state prison. 

If you are charged with larceny from a person over 60 years old, you face the same potential 5 year prison sentence as with larceny from a person. However, as with unarmed robbery of a person over 60 years old, the prosecution will undoubtedly seek a stiffer penalty for this charge. Also, a subsequent conviction for this offense carries a mandatory minimum of 2 years in jail. 

Massachusetts Carjacking

In Massachusetts, under MGL c. 265 s. 21A, carjacking is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. In order to be found guilty, the prosecution must prove that you did: 

  • with intent to steal a motor vehicle
  • assault, confine, maim or put in fear another person
  • for the purpose of stealing a motor vehicle
In order to be convicted, the prosecution does NOT need to show that you succeeded in actually stealing the motor vehicle. 

If you are armed with a dangerous weapon while committing this offense, you face up to 20 years in state prison and a mandatory minimum 1 year jail sentence. 

If you commit carjacking while armed with a firearm, you face a mandatory minimum 5 year state prison sentence. 

Carjacking offenses usually take place in remote areas, at night, without any potential witnesses other than the alleged victim. The nature of this offense can give rise to many different legal issues, the most common being the identification of the perpetrator. If you are charged with this offense, it is very important that you not speak to law enforcement AT ALL. We will thoroughly investigate the identification procedures that led to your arrest, and move to suppress any tainted identification. Further, the victims in these cases are often basing their ID and recollection based on a very brief, and traumatic, set of events. In addition to mistaken identification, the victims very often make mistakes as to other facts, such as seeing a weapon during the commission of the carjacking. We will raise all areas of doubt in presenting the best defense in your case. 

Massachusetts Home Invasion

In Massachusetts, the felony charge of home invasion is governed by MGL c. 265 s. 18C.  This charge carries a mandatory minimum 20 years in state prison, up to a life sentence. In order to be convicted of this offense, the prosecution must prove that you did: 

  • Knowingly enter the dwelling place of another having reason to know that one or more persons are inside the dwelling; OR
  • Knowingly enter the dwelling place of another and remain in that dwelling while having reason to know that one or more persons are inside; AND
  • while armed with a dangerous weapon; AND
  • use force or threaten the use of force upon a person in the dwelling; OR
  • intentionally cause injury to a person in the dwelling
The charge of home invasion goes to one of the most fundamental principles in America- you should feel safe in your own home. Your home is your sanctuary. The legislature valued this principle in mandating a 20 year minimum state prison sentence for anyone convicted of this offense. To be convicted, the prosecution does not need to show that anyone was injured- the threat of injury with a dangerous weapon is enough for you to face the 20-year minimum state prison sentence. 

If you are charged with any robbery offense in Massachusetts, contact our office immediately: 

(617) 830-2188

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