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What Is Robbery in Minneapolis and Minnesota?

Robbery is one of the most serious theft crimes recognized under Minnesota law. This offense differs from standard theft crimes in that it involves the threat or use of force to take another person’s property. Given the fear and trauma that can come with this type of offense, the penalties for a robbery conviction are often steep. Are you asking, what is robbery in Minneapolis and Minnesota, you need to get educated.

As is the case with any criminal offense, an arrest for robbery will never guarantee a conviction. The state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have committed robbery, otherwise you are entitled to an acquittal at trial.

A robbery charges lawyer of Gerald Miller understand what is at stake with a robbery prosecution. We are prepared to help you fight back while aggressively pursuing a favorable outcome to your case. Before you consider a guilty plea or attempt to represent yourself in criminal court, let our team advise you on your defense options.

Types of Robbery Offenses in Minneapolis MN

There are two different categories of robbery in Minnesota: simple and aggravated robbery. While there are notable differences between these charges, it is important to remember that all robbery offenses are treated as felonies under the law. This means any conviction for robbery could have significant consequences.

Each of these offenses share some common elements. Every robbery case involves taking the property of another person through the use or threat of force. This differs from most other theft offenses, which are often committed without the knowledge of the alleged victim. What separates simple from aggravated robbery is the presence or use of dangerous weapons during the commission of the crime.

Simple Robbery in Minneapolis and Minnesota

The crime of simple robbery is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 609.24. In order for the prosecution to obtain a conviction for simple robbery, they must prove that the accused took property from another person or in their presence without authorization. Additionally, the prosecutor must also show that this taking was done while using or threatening the imminent use of force.

The use of force is a broad term that means more than simply threatening another person to hand over their property. According to the statute, the imminent use of force means a physical act that overcomes a person’s resistance or their power to resist. This means force could be anything from restraining a person to snatching something from their hands. Physical force could also mean a violent assault intended to compel a person to give up their property.

It is important to remember that simple robbery could involve either the use of force or the threat of use of force. It is possible to commit this offense without ever touching another person, much less causing them physical harm. Threatening the use of force or even implying that you intend to use force if necessary is enough to result in a conviction for simple robbery.

Despite simple robbery being the lowest-level robbery offense under state law, the maximum penalty for a conviction is substantial. If convicted, the sentence could be as much as 10 years imprisonment, a fine of no more than $20,000, or a combination of the two.

Aggravated Robbery in Minneapolis and Minnesota

If you’re wondering what is robbery in Minneapolis, you should know the types of aggravating robbery. There are two different types of aggravated robbery offense: aggravated robbery in the 1st degree and aggravated robbery in the 2nd degree. The specifics of these offenses are similar, but aggravated robbery in the 1st degree carries the steeper penalties of the two charges.

Aggravated Robbery in the 1st Degree

An aggravated robbery charge is a standard robbery offense that includes the use of a dangerous weapon or bodily harm. The offense of aggravated robbery is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 609.245.

According to the statute, aggravated robbery in the 1st degree occurs when a person commits a simple robbery:

  • While armed with a dangerous weapon,
  • While wielding an article fashioned or used in a manner that makes the victim believe it is a dangerous weapon, or
  • While inflicting bodily injuries

This gives state prosecutors an array of options for securing a conviction. There are countless items that could be considered dangerous weapons, including firearms or knives. It can also involve less-obvious weapons like baseball bats, two-by-fours, or even motor vehicles.

What’s more, it is also possible to secure a conviction for aggravated robbery in the 1st degree by wielding something other than a dangerous weapon. The important factor is whether or not the item was fashioned or used in a manner that makes the alleged victim believe it was a weapon. This could include anything from a toy guy to a piece of wood shaped like a knife. Under the law, making a person believe you are wielding a dangerous weapon is as bas as actually wielding one.

Finally, the threshold for inflicting bodily harm is also low. The injuries that result from a robbery do not have to be severe in order for the state to earn a 1st degree robbery conviction. Bodily harm is defined as anything that causes “physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.”

Like the other offenses, robbery in the 1st degree is a felony under state law. A conviction could net a prison term of up to 20 years. It could also carry a fine of no more than $35,000. Alternatively, the court could order any combination of the two.

Aggravated Robbery in the 2nd Degree

The offense of robbery in the 2nd degree is similar to the 1st degree version of the offense. Like any robbery charge, this offense requires proof of a forceful taking of property from another person. The major difference between 1st and 2nd degree robbery is that 2nd degree robbery involves the implication that a dangerous weapon is present. For example, wielding a firearm during a robbery would qualify as 1st degree while telling someone you have a gun in your pocket would qualify as 2nd degree robbery. Alternatively, the implication could involve an act like indicating there is a weapon in your pocket. It is possible for the state to prove 2nd degree robbery even if the alleged victim has not sustained any injuries.

The penalties for 2nd degree robbery are not as steep as robbery in the 1st degree. If convicted, you could face as much as 15 years in state conviction, a fine of no more than $30,000, or a combination of the two.

Defenses to a Robbery Charge in Minneapolis

If you’re asking what is robbery, you probably also want to know what are legal defense to robbery charges in Minneapolis? As is the case with in any criminal charge, there are multiple defenses available in robbery cases. It is important to understand that not every defense is applicable in every case. The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand how to build a successful defense in a robbery case from the ground up. Some of the options that could be available include:

Lack of Evidence

The simplest defense in these cases is the lack of evidence. It is the duty of the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of robbery. If they come up short, you are entitled to an acquittal.

Sometimes, the best approach for the defense is to highlight the lack of evidence offered by the state. That means instead of building an alternate theory or pointing to signs of innocence, the defense shows that the evidence present is not enough to net a conviction.


Duress is another possible defense to a robbery charge. Duress occurs when another person forces the defendant to commit a criminal act that they would not have committed otherwise. Duress can occur following a threat of harm to the defendant or a third party. This defense requires some evidence that the defendant had a reasonable fear of serious harm or death.

Lack of Force

There is an element of force or threats of force to every robbery case. One potential defense would be to show that the use of force never took place. This defense could be enough to avoid a conviction on a robbery charge. However, taking the property of another person—even without the use or threat of force—would fall under other theft offenses.

Talk to a Robbery Charges Lawyer in Minneapolis About Your Case

If you have been charged with robbery, you could be facing significant criminal penalties that could follow you for the rest of your life. The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand what is at stake in your case and are ready to help you fight back. Contact us right way to learn about how we could help you develop the strongest possible defense.

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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