Being charged with a robbery offence can put a hold on your life and future.

But with the help of Sydney’s best criminal lawyers, you can get your life back on track.

Robbery is very similar to the offence of larceny (stealing), however it is considered more serious as it also involves an assault on a person. There are several different forms of robbery under the Crimes Act. These include:

  • Robbery or stealing from the person (s 94 of the Crimes Act);
  • Aggravated robbery (s 95 of the Crimes Act);
  • Aggravated robbery with wounding (s 96 of the Crimes Act);
  • Armed robbery, or robbery in company (s 97 of the Crimes Act);
  • Armed robbery or robbery in company resulting in wounding (s 98 of the Crimes Act).

Each of these offences requires the prosecution to prove different factors. They also carry different maximum penalties.

Arguably, the most common robbery offence is ‘robbery or stealing from the person.’ To be found guilty of any robbery offence, the prosecution must prove the three elements of this offence. These are discussed in more detail below.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

It can be especially frustrating being charged with an offence that you did not commit. However, our highly experienced robbery specialists can help you fight the charges in court to protect your innocence.

Before you can be found guilty of any robbery offence, the prosecution must prove three factors beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you stole, or intended to steal something from another person (also known as larceny)
  • That there was another person present when you took the item
  • That you used violence to take the property from the other person

If you believe that you are innocent, our highly skilled experts can assist you in fighting the charges by casting doubt on the prosecution case so that they are unable to prove these factors beyond a reasonable doubt.

Our senior criminal lawyers are Accredited Criminal Law Specialists who have a proven track record of fighting and winning some of the most serious robbery cases. Our expert knowledge of this complex area of the law, coupled with our ability to persuasively defend serious charges sets us apart from ‘general’ lawyers who are not as familiar with the law.

We can also advise you of any defences which may excuse or explain your actions – if accepted by the court, you will be found ‘not guilty.’

Examples of commonly raised defences include:

  • Where you believe that you had a claim of right to the property
  • Where you were coerced or threatened into committing the robbery (duress)
Pleading Guilty

If you are willing to admit to the charges against you, you may wish to plead guilty.
By pleading guilty at an early stage, you may also be able to get a ‘discount’ on your sentence – meaning that you may be able to get a more lenient penalty by showing the court that you are sorry for your actions.

If you’re considering pleading guilty, you may be wondering what kind of penalty you may receive.

The type of penalty that you will receive depends largely on the type of robbery offence that you have been charged with. For example, the maximum penalties for various robbery offences are:

  • For robbery or stealing from the person (s 94 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.
  • For aggravated robbery (s 95 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment.
  • For aggravated robbery with wounding (s 96 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment.
  • For armed robbery, or robbery in company (s 97 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment, or 25 years imprisonment if you committed the armed robbery with a ‘dangerous weapon.’
  • For armed robbery or robbery in company resulting in wounding (s 98 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment.

However, statistics show that the average penalties for robbery offences tends to be much lower than the maximum – for more information on this, see our ‘More Information’ section below.

Our persuasive advocates can help you prepare effective sentencing submissions that highlight any positive factors that the judge should consider when determining your sentence, for example, your lack of a previous criminal record and your low chances of reoffending.

We will fight hard to protect your liberty by convincing the judge to impose some other penalty which is less onerous.

The types of penalties that the court can impose include:

What Does the Law Say About Robbery?

Robbery is a complex area of the law, and in many cases it can be difficult to understand the charges against you.

We have included some additional information below to help you better understand how a robbery charge could affect you.

What does the prosecution need to prove?

As discussed above, to be found guilty of robbery, the prosecution must prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. That you stole something from another person (also known as larceny):

The prosecution must prove that you took and carried away property belonging to another person without their permission.

The prosecution must also prove that you did not intend to return the property to the owner, however usually this will be assumed where it is shown that you forcefully took property from another person.

Essentially, the elements of larceny must be proved. You can read more about larceny and what it involves.

2. The property must be taken from another person, or in the presence of another person:

Robbery only refers to situations where you take property directly from another person, or in their presence.

For example, if you broke into an empty house and stole some money, it would be considered to be a break and enter offence rather than a robbery.

However, where you entered a petrol station and demanded that the cashier give you money, it would be considered to be a robbery.

3. You must use violence in taking the property from the other person:

‘Violence’ includes the threat of violence – in other words, putting someone else in fear for their safety. This may include situations where you threaten to use violence upon another person – for example, pointing a gun at someone and asking them to hand over money. A threat could also be verbal, for example, threatening to assault someone unless they give you money.

However, you can only be found guilty of robbery where you used the threat to obtain the property – in other words, you cannot be found guilty where you threatened the other person after they had already handed over the property.

What are the other forms of robbery?

In addition to ‘robbery or stealing from the person,’ there are four other robbery offences under the Crimes Act. To be found guilty of these offences, the prosecution must prove the three elements of ‘robbery or stealing from the person,’ as discussed above, as well as some additional factors.

The possible penalties that you could receive will also depend on the type of robbery that you have been charged with.

The four additional robbery offences under the Crimes Act are:

1. Aggravated robbery (s 95 of the Crimes Act):
In order to be found guilty of ‘aggravated robbery,’ the prosecution must prove the three elements of robbery as discussed above, as well as an ‘aggravating circumstance.’ An aggravating circumstance is something that makes the robbery more serious.

There are three possible ‘aggravating circumstances’ under the Crimes Act. It is only necessary for the prosecution to prove one of these:

Where you use ‘corporal violence’ on another person: Corporal violence refers to physical injury done to another person.

Where you inflict actual bodily harm on another person: Actual bodily harm refers to harm that has some form of lasting impact – but it doesn’t have to be permanent.

Examples of actual bodily harm include bruises or scratches, and can include emotional harm where there is evidence of serious, lasting psychiatric harm.

Where you deprive someone of their liberty: This involves detaining someone against their will; for example, tying them up or locking them in a room while you commit the robbery.

2. Aggravated robbery with wounding (s 96 of the Crimes Act):
In order to be found guilty of ‘robbery with wounding,’ the prosecution must prove that you committed a robbery in aggravating circumstances (discussed above) AND that you wounded or inflicted grievous bodily harm on another person.

Grievous bodily harm refers to any ‘permanent or serious disfiguring’ of another person. An example would be where you stab or shoot someone during a robbery.

3. Armed robbery, or robbery in company (s 97 of the Crimes Act):
This means that the prosecution must prove either:

  • That there was at least one other person physically present at the time of the offence, and that they were involved in committing the robbery OR
  • That you were armed with an offensive weapon

The court will consider the effect of the group as a whole in committing the act or intimidating the victim.

It won’t be enough to show that the other person participated in the offence without being physically present – e.g. where someone acted as a lookout or assisted in planning the robbery.

An ‘offensive weapon or instrument’ broadly includes anything that has the potential to inflict harm upon another person. It can include things like firearms, knives, baseball bats, and syringes. However, it can also refer to things that are not generally considered weapons – such as cars and broken bottles.

You might also face harsher penalties where you were armed with a ‘dangerous weapon.’ ‘Dangerous weapons’ include things such as firearms and other prohibited weapons.

You don’t actually have to use the weapon – it will be enough that you had it on you.

4. Armed robbery or robbery in company resulting in wounding (s 98 of the Crimes Act):
This means that the prosecution must prove that you were either:

  • That there was at least one other person physically present at the time of the offence, and that they were involved in committing the robbery OR
  • That you were armed with an offensive weapon; AND
  • You wounded or inflicted grievous bodily harm on another person.

Essentially, this means that the prosecution must prove that you committed a ‘robbery with wounding’ AND an ‘armed robbery, or robbery in company.’

What penalties am I looking at?

The type of penalty that you will receive depends on the type of robbery that you have been charged with. For example, the maximum penalties for various robbery offences are:

  • For robbery or stealing from the person (s 94 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.
  • For aggravated robbery (s 95 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment.
  • For aggravated robbery with wounding (s 96 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment.
  • For armed robbery, or robbery in company (s 97 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment, and 25 years imprisonment if you committed the armed robbery with a ‘dangerous weapon.’

For armed robbery or robbery in company resulting in wounding (s 98 of the Crimes Act), the maximum penalty is 25 years imprisonment.

However, the penalty that you will receive will ultimately depend on your facts and circumstances. This means that in determining what kind of penalty you will receive, the court will look at things like your criminal record, whether you are someone of ‘good character,’ and whether or not you are likely to reoffend.

After the court considers all of these factors, you may actually end up with a penalty much lower than the maximum. For example, statistics show that the average penalties for robberies are:

  • For robbery or stealing from the person (s 94 of the Crimes Act), the average penalty was 2.5 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 12 months, meaning that the average time actually spent in gaol is 12 months.
  • For aggravated robbery (s 95 of the Crimes Act), the average penalty is 3.5 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 21.5 months, meaning that the average time actually spent in gaol is 21.5 months.
  • For armed robbery, or robbery in company (s 97 of the Crimes Act), the average penalty was 3.5 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 21 months, meaning that the average time actually spent in gaol is 21 months.

You can increase your chances of getting a favourable outcome in your robbery case by speaking to a specialist criminal lawyer. Unlike other lawyers, specialist criminal lawyers have a wealth of knowledge and experience fighting robbery charges – so they will know what to do to ensure that you get the best result.

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers® we pride ourselves on being the best robbery lawyers in Sydney. Our expert lawyers have years of experience winning robbery cases. So call us today on
(02) 9261 8881
and find out how we can help you beat your robbery charge.

Proof of Robbery

It can be difficult for police to prove that a person has committed robbery.

This can be because of the delay between the incident and arrest.

Or it can be because of the unreliability of any identification evidence.

Or, if DNA or fingerprints are found, there may be an alternative explanation for their presence.

In other cases, there may only be a ‘partial’ DNA or fingerprint match or the sample may be contaminated.

In some cases, a legal defence may be available eg where the defendant honestly believed that he or she had a right to the property.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.

Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional ResultsSydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases. Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial. Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client SatisfactionWe have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia. Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities. We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law FirmWe have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running. The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
  4. Fixed FeesWe want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004. We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
  5. Free First AppointmentFor those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers. We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
  6. Specialist Lawyer GuaranteeWe guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court. This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
  7. All NSW CourtsFrom Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases. And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
  8. Accredited SpecialistsOur entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists. All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005. An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field. Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
  9. Results-Focused Law FirmOur team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet. The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’. Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
  10. Team of Lawyers Behind YouOur clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide. Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes. A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
  11. Familiar with Magistrates and JudgesEach of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state. Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
  12. ConvenienceWe have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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