Robbery Lawyer in Des Moines

Iowa Code Section 711.1 provides the definition for "robbery."  Robbery is always a felony.

In order to prove that you committed robbery, the government must show that you:

  • Intended to commit a theft AND
  • Assaulted someone OR
  • Threatened someone with immediate serious injury OR
  • Intentionally made someone afraid of immediate serious injury OR
  • Threatened to immediately commit any forcible felony
  • AND that you made that threat or committed that assault to assist the theft or to help you get away with the stolen property.  

Classes of Robbery

Class B Felony Robbery Lawyer for Robbery in the First Degree

Robbery in the first degree is a Class B felony.

Robbery is in the first degree when you:

  • Purposely inflict a serious injury OR
  • Attempt to inflict a serious injury OR
  • Are armed with a dangerous weapon

Serious Injury

"Serious injury" has a statutory definition. Iowa Code 702.18.

Bodily injuries are serious when they create substantial risk of death, cause serious permanent disfigurement, impair function of any body part, or require surgery involving general anesthesia.  An assault that leaves a scar can be a serious injury.

For adults, a debilitating mental illness can be a serious injury.  For children under the age of four, "serious injury" also includes skull fractures, rib fractures, and metaphyseal fractures of the long bones.

"Dangerous Weapon"

Iowa Code section 702.7 provides that a “dangerous weapon” is any instrument or device designed primarily for use in inflicting death or injury upon a human being or animal, and which is capable of inflicting death upon a human being when used in the manner for which it was designed, except a bow and arrow when possessed and used for hunting or any other lawful purpose.

Additionally, any instrument or device of any sort whatsoever which is actually used in such a manner as to indicate that the defendant intends to inflict death or serious injury upon the other, and which, when so used, is capable of inflicting death upon a human being, is a dangerous weapon.

Dangerous weapons include but are not limited to any offensive weapon, pistol, revolver, or other firearm, dagger, razor, stiletto, switchblade knife, knife having a blade exceeding five inches in length, or any portable device or weapon directing an electric current, impulse, wave, or beam that produces a high-voltage pulse designed to immobilize a person.

Courts have found that in some contexts, brass knuckles, box cutters, utility knives, throwing stars, throwing hatchets, and boomerangs can be dangerous weapons -- and so can plenty of other things!  If the prosecution can prove that the way you used an object shows that you meant to hurt or kill someone, that object can be considered a dangerous weapon.

Class C Felony Robbery Lawyer for Robbery in the Second Degree

All robbery that is not Robbery in the First Degree is Robbery in the Second Degree.

Robbery in the Third Degree

The statute pertaining to Robbery in the Third Degree was repealed.  All robbery other than First Degree Robbery is now Second Degree Robbery.

Penalties for Iowa Robbery

Robbery is a felony offense.

  • Class B Felony Robbery in the First Degree. Up to 25 years in prison. 
    • First Degree Robbery convictions make you ineligible for work release until you've served between 50% and 70% of the maximum term of your sentence. 
      • That means that for most first degree robbery convictions, you'll spend at least 12.5 years in prison before parole eligibility.
  • Class C Felony Robbery in the Second Degree. Up to 10 year in the county jail.  $1,370 minimum to $13,660 maximum fine.
    • Second Degree Robbery convictions make you ineligible for parole or work release until you've served between half and 70% of the maximum term of your sentence. Iowa Code § 902.12(1)(e).
    • This means that for most second degree robbery convictions, you will have to spend 5 - 7 years in prison before you're eligible for parole or work release.

Habitual Offender: Minimum of 7.5 years Before Parole Eligibility

If you are convicted of Class "C" felony Robbery in the Second Degree and you have two or more previous felony convictions from any jurisdiction, you may be charged as a "habitual offender."

The prison sentence for a Class C felony as a habitual offender is 15 years rather than 10.  Therefore, if you're convicted of second degree robbery as a habitual offender, you will now have to serve 50% - 70% of that 15 year sentence before parole eligibility.  50% of a 15 year sentence is 7.5 years.  70% of a 15 year sentence is 10.5 years.

You will have to pay an additional 15% crime services surcharge on any fine

First Degree Robbery and Second Degree Robbery are Forcible Felonies

"A “forcible felony” is any felonious child endangerment, assault, murder, sexual abuse, kidnapping, robbery, human trafficking, arson in the first degree, or burglary in the first degree. " - Iowa Code 702.11

Iowa Code 907.3 won't permit the judge to grant you a deferred judgment, deferred sentence, or suspended sentence following a forcible felony conviction.  Because both First Degree Robbery and Second Degree Robbery are forcible felonies, deferred judgments and suspended sentences aren't an option.  If you're convicted, a prison sentence will be imposed.

Loss of Gun Rights

Felons don't get guns in Iowa.

Robbery Enhancements

Guns on School Grounds

Iowa Code Section 724.4B makes it a Class D felony to go armed with, carry, or transport any firearm on school grounds unless your duties as a peace officer, armed forces member, corrections officer require or permit you to have the weapon.  (Or unless it's an unloaded and stored in a closed and fastened container too large to be concealed on your person.) 

Any robbery conviction involving a firearm on school grounds will open up the possibility of to an additional Class D felony charge of Carrying Firearms on School Grounds.  Class D felonies involve prison sentences of up to five years and fines of $1,025 - $10,245.

Weapons Free Zones — Enhanced Penalties

Areas within a thousand feet of a school or public park are "weapons free zones." (Exception: designated hunting areas are not weapons free zones.) If you commit a public offense involving a firearm or offensive weapon within a weapons free zone, you "shall" be subject to a fine of double the maximum. 

Second Degree Robbery in a weapons-free zone imposes a $27,320 fine.

Robbery Defenses - Robbery Lawyer

  • Mistaken Identity - If it's reasonable to think that someone else was the person committing the offense, then you shouldn't be held responsible.
  • Alibi - Were you somewhere else? If you were testifying in front of Congress at the time of the alleged offense, the jury should hear about your alibi.
  • Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure - The Fourth Amendment, with some specific and well-delineated exceptions, guards you from warrantless searches and seizures.
Charged with a crime in iowa? We can help!

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