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Richardson, Richardson, & Campbell Dec. 7, 2017

A person commits the offense of aggravated robbery when he or she during the course of a theft, which theft is committed with the intent to obtain or maintain control of property, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person, uses or exhibits a deadly weapon, or causes bodily injury or threatens to cause injury to an elderly or a disabled person. A disabled person for purposes of the offense is an individual with mental, physical, or developmental disabilities, which prevent the disabled person from protecting himself or herself from harm.

An indictment charging a defendant with aggravated robbery must allege all the elements of robbery, that is, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing or threatening to cause bodily injury to another person during the course of a theft with the intent to obtain control of property, plus the elements of causing serious bodily injury to the other person, using or exhibiting a deadly weapon, or causing bodily injury to an elderly or a disabled person.

The words "serious bodily injury" mean a bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, permanent disfigurement, or loss or impairment of a body member or organ. Whether an injury constitutes "serious bodily injury" is normally established by expert medical testimony. A victim's testimony regarding the injury is not sufficient. The fact that the injury was treated successfully does not render the injury less serious.

The use or exhibition of a deadly weapon in a robbery elevates the offense to aggravated robbery. The issue in this regard is the threat or fear that is caused by the presence of the deadly weapon. Any distinction between whether the weapon was used or was exhibited is not relevant. A deadly weapon may consist of a firearm or any other weapon that is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. Whether a knife is a deadly weapon depends upon the manner in which the knife was used or the nature of the wounds. In some cases, a small knife, a pair of scissors, or a screwdriver may be considered a deadly weapon.

An indictment charging a defendant with aggravated robbery based on the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon should specify the type of deadly weapon that was used or exhibited. The evidence at trial must refer to the same type of weapon. A victim does not need to testify that he or she actually saw the weapon. The prosecution only needs to prove that the victim believed that a deadly weapon was being used, such as when the victim heard a firearm being cocked. However, if the victim did not believe that the defendant had a deadly weapon, the defendant cannot be convicted of aggravated robbery.

If the evidence at trial is not sufficient for the offense of aggravated robbery, the evidence may still prove that the defendant was guilty of robbery. Aggravated assault and theft are also lesser-included offenses of aggravated robbery.

The offense of aggravated robbery is normally punished as a first degree felony, that is, a felony of the most serious degree.