Aggravated Robbery in Colorado (C.R.S. 18-4-302)

CRS § 18-4-302 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of Aggravated Robbery. A person commits the offense of aggravated robbery when he or she commits the offense of robbery; and also

  • commits the offense with a weapon with intent -- if faced with resistance -- to kill, maim, or wound the person robbed; or
  • knowingly wounds or strikes another person with a deadly weapon (or an accomplice does the same); or
  • uses force, threats, or intimidation with a deadly weapon and knowingly puts another person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury; or
  • represents that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon or possesses an object meant to look like a weapon.

What is a "deadly weapon?"

Under Colorado law, a deadly weapon includes:

  • a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded; or
  • a knife, bludgeon, or any other weapon or other thing that, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.

The type of object that could possibly be considered a deadly weapon is broad and nearly anything can qualify if used to harm a person.

Penalties for Aggravated Robbery in Colorado

Aggravated robbery is a Class 3 felony in Colorado, as well as an extraordinary risk crime. If convicted of the offense of aggravated robbery, you face:

  • 4-16 years in prison (with 5-years mandatory parole), and
  • a maximum fine of up to $750,000.

The maximum prison sentence increases to 32 years (with a mandatory minimum of 10) if during the robbery or in flight therefrom the robbery, the alleged offender:

  • knowingly wounds or strikes a person with a deadly weapon, or
  • by force, threats, or intimidation places a person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury.

Defenses

To defend against the charge, a defendant can prove:

  • that a deadly weapon was not used in committing the robbery,
  • a robbery was never committed by the defendant,
  • the alleged offender never claimed to have a deadly weapon during the robbery.

Below, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about the crime of aggravated robbery for Colorado residents.

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CRS § 18-4-302 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of Aggravated Robbery.

1. What is the offense of aggravated robbery?

Under CRS § 18-4-302, a person commits the offense of aggravated robbery when he or she commits the offense of robbery and also

  • commits the offense with a weapon with intent, if resisted, to kill, maim, or wound the person robbed; or
  • knowingly wounds or strikes another person with a deadly weapon (or an accomplice does the same); or
  • uses force, threats, or intimidation with a deadly weapon and knowingly puts another person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury; or
  • represents that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon, or possess an object meant to look like a weapon. 1

The Colorado prosecutor must prove each of the necessary elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt before a person can be convicted of the offense. 2

1.1 What is the difference between robbery and aggravated robbery?

Aggravated robbery requires the use or threat of a deadly weapon while regular robbery does not. Some examples can help show the difference between the two offenses.

Example: Frank runs and snatches a purse from Fiona while she is shopping in downtown Denver. Frank can be convicted of robbery because he used force to take an item from another person. He did not use a weapon, so he would not be charged with aggravated robbery.

Example: Claire pulls a shotgun on Jonathan, who has just pulled out money from an ATM. She points the gun at him and threatens to shoot him if he does not give her the money. Claire can be charged with aggravated robbery because she used a deadly weapon to commit a robbery.

2. What is a deadly weapon?

Under Colorado law, the definition includes:

  • a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded; or
  • a knife, bludgeon, or any other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, whether animate or inanimate, that, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.3

2.1 What are some examples?

The type of object that could possibly be considered a deadly weapon is broad, and nearly any item can qualify as a weapon so long as it is used to harm a person.

Common examples include:

  • guns, whether loaded or unloaded (pistol, rifle, shotgun, automatic rifle)
  • knives or other blades
  • hammers
  • grenades
  • metal pipes
  • screwdrivers
  • acid
  • baseball bat
  • cars or other motor vehicles.

Again, this is not a complete list but provides an idea of what can be used as a weapon even if its actual purpose is for something entirely different.

2.2 What if I do not actually have a deadly weapon, but only lie to say I do?

If the robber does not actually possess a deadly weapon, but either:

  • lies and states he or she possesses one; or
  • uses an object that looks like one;

the robber can still be charged with aggravated robbery. It is not a defense to state that the object was not a deadly object if the robber represented that it was one. 4

Example: Dean approaches Sam while Sam is getting into his car after work. Dean has his finger in his pocket, pointing out in the shape of a gun to make it look like he is armed. Dean threatens to shoot Sam with his "gun" if Sam refuses to hand over his briefcase. Even though Dean never actually had a gun, he will still be charged with aggravated robbery.

3. What are the penalties for aggravated robbery in Colorado?

Aggravated robbery is a Class 3 felony in Colorado, as well as an extraordinary risk crime. If convicted of the offense of aggravated robbery, you face:

  • four to sixteen years in prison (with 5-years mandatory parole), and
  • a maximum fine of up to $750,000. 5

The maximum prison sentence increases to 32 years (with a mandatory minimum of 10) if during the robbery or in flight therefrom, the offender:

  • knowingly wounds or strikes a person with a deadly weapon, or
  • by force, threats or intimidation places a person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury.

4. What defenses can I raise?

To defend against the charge, a defendant can prove that:

  • a deadly weapon was not used in committing the robbery;
  • a robbery was never committed by the defendant; or
  • the alleged offender never claimed to have a deadly weapon during the robbery.

There may be other available defenses as well depending on the facts of the individual case. You are not guilty just because you are charged with a crime.

5. Related Offenses

Aggravated robbery is an offense that is often related to other offenses, including but not limited to simple robbery, burglary, possession of burglary tools, and theft.

5.1 Simple Robbery (18-4-301 CRS)

Simple robbery, according to 18-4-301 CRS, occurs in Colorado when a person knowingly takes something of value from another person by use of force, threats, or intimidation.6 It is a Class 4 felony that -- if convicted -- can result in:

  • up to six years in prison; and/or
  • a fine up to $500,000.

5.2 Burglary (18-4-201 CRS)

Burglary -- as defined by 18-4-201 C.R.S. -- is committed when a person in Colorado wrongfully enters and/or remains on another person's property with the intention to commit a crime.7 The intended crime must be something other than the offense of trespass but can include something like the crime of theft.

Burglary in Colorado is classified according to its seriousness, from third degree to first-degree felonies. Punishment can include prison from one to 48 years and a fine between $1,000 and $1,000,000 -- depending on the degree of the felony conviction.

5.3 Possession of Burglary Tools (18-4-205 CRS)

Possession of burglary tools is a crime in Colorado, according to CRS 18-4-205.8 The law refers to a crime that involves a person in possession of a "tool" with the intention to use that tool to break into a business, home, or another place to commit theft. The offense is a Class 5 felony and conviction of it could mean:

  • one to three years in prison;
  • two years mandatory parole; and/or
  • a fine of up to $100,000.

5.4 Theft (18-4-401 CRS)

Theft in Colorado is defined under section 18-4-401 CRS.9 A person commits theft when -- without the owner's consent -- takes a thing of value. Depending on the value of the thing stolen, theft can be charged as:

If convicted on any of the above charges, penalties will reflect the type of theft that was committed.

 

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For questions about aggravated robbery charges or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled Colorado criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us.

We represent clients in and around Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, and several nearby cities.


Legal References:

  1. CRS § 18-4-302. (Aggravated Robbery).
  2. People v. Reese, 155 P.3d 477 (2006) (stating the proof required to prove the offense of aggravated robbery).
  3. CRS § 18-1-901. (Definitions).
  4. CRS § 18-4-302(1)(d).
  5. CRS § 18-1-401(10).
  6. CRS § 18-4-301. Robbery.
  7. CRS § 18-4-201. Burglary.
  8. CRS § 18-4-205. Possession of Burglary Tools.
  9. CRS § 18-4-401. Theft.

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