Armed Robbery

Robbery-related offences are taken seriously within the NSW criminal justice system, with charges and penalties outlined in Section 4 of the Crimes Act 1900. The team at Hamilton Janke Lawyers are acutely aware of the serious nature of these charges, including armed robbery charges and aggravated robbery and are competent and experienced in guiding an accused person through the criminal proceedings to ensure they receive the most favourable result.

What is Armed Robbery?

Armed robbery occurs when an individual carries a offensive weapon and threatens to use physical force to steal or take something from someone. 

Section 97(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 states that whosoever, being armed with an offensive weapon, or instrument, or being in company with another person, robs, or assaults with intent to rob, any person, or stops any mail, or vehicle, railway train, or person conveying a mail, with intent to rob is guilty of a criminal offence.

If the weapon carried is classified as a ‘dangerous weapon’, an individual can be charged with ‘aggravated armed robbery’, which is a more serious offence and can attract greater penalties in accordance with Section 97(2) of the Crimes Act 1900. 

As detailed by the Crimes Act 1900, a ‘dangerous weapon’ can include: 

  1. A firearm or imitation firearm, defined by the Firearms Act 1996 
  2. A prohibited weapon, defined by the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 
  3. A spear gun

Difference Between Robbery and Armed Robbery

The offence of ‘armed robbery’ differs from the offence of ‘robbery’ as the accused is armed with an ‘offensive’ or ‘dangerous’ weapon. 

In NSW, the offence of robbery occurs when an individual steals something from someone and, when doing so, threatens them or uses physical force. This is outlined in Section 94 of the Crimes Act 1900 and can result in a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment. 

If an individual commits a robbery whilst armed with a weapon, such as a knife or gun, they can be charged with ‘armed robbery’ and may be liable to a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. This is detailed under section 97 of the Crimes Act 1900.

Is Armed Robbery an Indictable Offence?

As defined by the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW), an indictable offence is “an offence that may be prosecuted on indictment”. This means indictable offences are serious matters in which the court can sentence the accused to fulltime prison.

Armed robbery is a serious offence, resulting in a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. As such, armed robbery is an indictable offence and is to be prosecuted in either the district or supreme court.

Is Armed Robbery an Indictable Offence?

Due to the violent nature of the offence, armed robbery carries grave penalties within the NSW criminal justice system, with a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. If the armed robbery was committed with a ‘dangerous weapon’, or the armed robbery results in wounding, the individual is liable to a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. 

However, if an individual is found guilty of armed robbery, the court will consider the individual circumstances of their case in determining an appropriate sentence and can exercise their discretion in implementing another possible penalty. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • A lesser custodial sentence 
  • Intensive correction orders 
  • Home detention 
  • Community service orders 
  • Good behaviour bonds 
  • Fines 
  • Suspended sentences 


Within NSW, the average penalty for armed robbery is 3.5 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 21 months.

What Happens If You Get Charged with Armed Robbery?

If you are charged with armed robbery, it is necessary you contact a specialist criminal lawyer, like the team at Hamilton Janke Lawyers, to offer you expert advice and ensure you receive the best possible outcome. 

If you are charged with armed robbery, your matter will be heard initially in the local court before a magistrate, where it will then be committed to the District Court. As a ‘strictly indictable offence’, a charge of armed robbery must be finalised in either the District or the Supreme court.

In the local court, the accused will enter a guilty or not guilty plea, after which the matter proceeds to a sentencing hearing or a trial before a judge and jury in the District Court.

If you are charged with armed robbery and your case proceeds to trial, you will not be found guilty of the offence unless the prosecution can prove the elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt in the eyes of the 12 jurors.

Do You Legally Have to Report Armed Robbery If You Witness It?

In many circumstances, individuals are not legally required to report a crime when they witness it. However, under section 315 of the Crimes Act 1900, is it an offence to conceal information regarding a serious indictable offence (any offence that carries a prison term of at least five years) if you don’t have a reasonable excuse for failure to report. 

As armed robbery is a serious indictable offence with a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, failure to report this offence if you witness it can have negative legal consequences. If you witness such an offence, it is recommended that you seek advice from an expert criminal lawyer or report any knowledge of it anonymously through crime stoppers.

Defences for Armed Robbery in NSW

Various criminal defences may be argued to rebut the charge of ‘armed robbery’ by disproving one, or several, elements of the offence. Successful use of these defences can lead to an acquittal but could in some circumstances result in a mitigated sentence or a lesser charge. Our experienced team at Hamilton Janke lawyers can advise you on possible criminal defences that may be applicable to your circumstances.

These defences include, but are not limited to: 

  • Duress: That the accused was coerced into participating in criminal activity 
  • Necessity: The accused only partook in an illegal act to avoid imminent danger by human or natural forces 
  • Honest claim of right: The accused has a bona fide claim in which they believe they’re entitled to the property that was stolen

Pleading Not Guilty to Armed Robbery in NSW

If you disagree with the charges made against you, you have the option to plead not guilty. Upon entering a not-guilty plea, you will not be convicted of the offence unless the prosecution is able to prove the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you choose to enter a not-guilty plea, the matter will likely proceed to a trial in which your case would be heard before a judge and a jury of 12 citizens. This allows you to provide a defence to the charges made against you if you choose to do so. In these circumstances, an experienced criminal lawyer is necessary to guide you through the criminal proceedings and ensure you receive the best outcome. 

Our team at Hamilton Janke Lawyers can offer expert advice and 24/7 support during this time. We can advise on the various possible defences to armed robbery charges that may be applicable to individual circumstances.

Pleading Guilty to Armed Robbery Charges in NSW

If you choose to plead guilty to a charge of armed robbery, this declares you agree with allegations made by the police, and you are responsible for the offence with which you are charged. 

After entering a guilty plea, the matter will process to sentencing, in which the judge will determine the appropriate sentencing. In accordance with the NSW judgement guidelines used in robbery-related offences, entering a guilty plea may reduce the maximum sentence issued. 

Pleading guilty early in proceedings provides the greatest opportunity for a mitigated sentence, with the current maximum discount available for an early plea being 25%. There may also be other discounts available on sentences for providing assistance to authorities, amongst other things.

Burden of Proof

As a criminal matter, the burden of proof for charges of armed robbery lies with the prosecution. 

This means that for a conviction to occur, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the elements of the offence: 

  1. That you were in possession of a weapon or instrument and used or threatened to use that weapon or instrument;
  2. That you intended to steal something from someone;
  3. That you threatened to use force on the person; and
  4. That you took something from the person


If the prosecution is unable to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then you will be acquitted, and any charges made against you will be dropped.

Looking for a Criminal Defence Lawyer Who Can Help?

If you are being charged with armed robbery offences in NSW, it is vital that you seek legal advice and legal representation. Our experienced criminal lawyers will be able to advise you on how to proceed and assist you through every step of the process. Contact our expert Criminal Defence Lawyers now.

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