Assault with Intent to Rob Laws & Penalties in Massachusetts

Assault to rob is a felony in Massachusetts. Robbery assault falls into a broader category of offenses wherein prosecutors typically ‘throw the book’ at you by tacking on numerous related charges. Defendants in assault to rob cases can also face conspiracy to commit a felony, destruction of property, assault with a dangerous weapon, and many other aggravating offenses.

If you were charged with assault to rob, you need a highly experienced assault lawyer to help you fight the robbery assault charges until they are dismissed or dropped down to a lesser offense.

Assault with Intent to Rob

Assault requires some act that would put a reasonable person in fear for their safety. Assault with intent to rob requires such an act with the added intention of stealing from the person/s.

Prosecutors may include conspiracy or “intent” in their charging document to cover all the bases because stealing, theft and robbery require that the offender keeps the property with the intention of permanently depriving the victim from it.

Thus, some have argued that they were unaware they had the goods or property, or that they would have soon returned it. The conspiracy and intent wording upends those arguments.

Robbery Assault

Robbery assault (assault to rob) is a felony that can be presented by prosecutors as a violent crime even if no weapon or firearm was involved. Your criminal assault lawyer will need to examine the state’s evidence thoroughly to ascertain if witness accounts may be inaccurate or overblown, among other details.

If you have been wrongly accused of robbery assault, you and your defense lawyer may discuss developing a strong case for self-defense. If compelling evidence is provided to exonerate the robbery element, your attorney should work hard to have most, if not all, of the serious charges against you dismissed.

It is also important to realize that your account of events as well as any witness accounts could reveal mitigating factors that your attorney can use during negotiations should the state offer to plea bargain.

Armed Robbery Sentence

When facing assault charges that include robbery, armed robbery and other aggravating offenses, it’s vital to be aware of the sentencing penalties allowed under Massachusetts law should you be convicted.

A sentence for robbery and assault carries the following punishments:

Assault with Intent to RobFelony—-Up to 10 years
Assault to Rob while ArmedFelony—-Up to 20 years
Armed Robbery Assault, FirearmFelony5 yearsUp to 20 years
Armed Robbery assault person over 60Felony—-Up to 20 years
Armed Robbery assault person over 60 2nd+Felony2 yearsUp to 20 years
Assault to Rob Person over 60 with FirearmFelony10 yearsUp to 20 years
Assault to Rob Person over 60 with Firearm 2nd + offenseFelony20 yearsUp to 20 years


“Armed” means armed with a dangerous weapon, a term broadly defined under MA law as any item used in a manner which could inflict serious injury or death.

Related Q&A:  Is assault with a dangerous weapon a felony?

Yes and No. Under M.G.L. c265 §15B, assault with a dangerous weapon can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. However, if the offense involved assaulting a person over 60 with a dangerous weapon, it’s a felony charge for which offenders 18 and older cannot receive probation diversion.

Armed Robbery

Armed robbery and assault to rob while armed is a distinction with an enormous difference under the criminal laws in Massachusetts.

Historically, lawmakers thought of “armed robbery” as a more organized criminal endeavor than that of assault to rob while armed. This is supported by the enhancing elements codified as “display of gun” v. “no display of gun,” and “masked face” v. “unmasked” in the armed robbery statute.

Armed robbery also includes the element of assault. However, if convicted of armed robbery in the commonwealth, you face a sentence that ranges up to life in prison.

If you are convicted and proven to have been armed with a dangerous weapon and masked during the commission of the robbery, you will serve a mandatory minimum of 5 years with a maximum up to life in prison.

How an Assault Lawyer Can Help

Serious felony charges of this magnitude need to be analyzed by a highly qualified robbery assault lawyer who has defended similar cases in the criminal courts of Massachusetts.

Look for an attorney who:

  • Knows local court customs and procedures.
  • Can identify and develop available defenses.
  • Understands how to evaluate police reports, and
  • How to challenge forensic evidence.
  • Has a strong record on motions.
  • Can negotiate with prosecutors for earnest reductions.
  • Will be prepared to take the case to trial should you make that decision.
  • You feel comfortable talking with.

There are some differences in how assault and robbery cases are handled by local prosecutors, courts and judges. Your criminal assault lawyer needs to be familiar with all local procedures to give you the best chance of avoiding jail or prison time and a felony conviction.

For instance, if you received a Notice of Hearing on Application, you’re scheduled to go before a Clerk Magistrate for a probable cause hearing, commonly called “show cause hearings” in Middlesex County district courts.

You can have a local assault attorney represent you at the show cause hearing in hopes of convincing the clerk to dismiss the matter altogether. If dismissed, you will not have a criminal record; assuming it’s your first offense assault charge with no prior history.

However, you are cautioned not to go without counsel because anything you say at a show cause hearing can be used against you in a criminal case should the complaint move forward.

If you need a confidential review of assault robbery or armed robbery charges, please contact my law office as soon as possible to set up a free consultation: 978-452-1116 .

Attorney Gregory Oberhauser

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Gregory Oberhauser is the ONLY attorney in Massachusetts to be distinguished as an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist by the American Chemical Society!

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