The Charge

Robbery can be committed in any one of four basic ways, or a combination thereof:

  1. Stealing from someone, and then using violence or threats to stop them from resisting the stealing;
  2. Stealing from someone, and immediately before, during or after, beating or using other violence on the victim;
  3. Assaulting any person with the intent of stealing from him;
  4. Stealing from any person while being armed with an offensive weapon.

The classic robbery scenario is a bank robbery, or a convenience store robbery. Aggressive panhandling can also constitute a robbery, if a threat of violence is employed. The most serious types of robberies are home invasion robberies, where the allegation is that the robbery occurred in someone’s home. Our criminal defence lawyers have helped people in all these situations. We can help you fight these charges.


If you are only being investigated at this time, and have not been charged, it is most likely that the police will be opposed to your release once you are arrested. We recommend that you do not act for yourself at a bail hearing. Let our criminal defence lawyers help you make sure you get released while we mount your defence. Whether or not you are released from custody has significant consequences for your case, so it is vital you have experienced legal representation from the moment you are arrested. We can act quickly and efficiently to make sure you are released from custody as soon as possible. If the terms of your release have an excessively negative impact on your life or well-being, we can negotiate with the prosecutor or ask a judge to vary the terms to better suit your needs.

The Defence

The starting point is always a careful review of all the police evidence and of your version of events. It may be that the Crown cannot prove all the elements of the charge. If you have a defence, we will pursue it to the fullest extent. Your defence may focus on one or more of the following issues:

  • Can the Crown prove the identity of the perpetrator?
  • If the Crown is alleging that you participated with other people, can they prove that you were aware of what the others were doing?
  • Do you have a valid claim to the property alleged to have been robbed

The Sentence

A conviction for robbery carries a maximum sentence of life in jail. In addition, certain types of robberies carry lengthy mandatory minimum penalties:

  • 4 years, if it is proven that a firearm was used during the commission of the robbery (5 years if the firearm was restricted or prohibited);
  • 5 years if the Crown shows that the robbery was committed in connection with a criminal organization;

Robberies are committed in a wide variety of circumstances and ranges of sentences have developed for certain types of robberies. For example, if a disguise is used in the commission of the robbery, the Crown typically seeks an additional 1 year sentence beyond the typical range of sentence otherwise appropriate. The general breakdown of sentence ranges in Alberta is as follows:

  1. Street level muggings: the Crown frequently seeks a sentence of at least 1 year in jail for these types of robberies.
  1. Convenience store robberies: In order to deter people from preying on these businesses, where the employees frequently work alone and without security protection, the Crown often seeks 3 years in jail for these offences, even if the offender has no prior criminal record.
  1. Home invasion robberies: The “starting point” in Alberta for robberies of people in their own home, where the offenders are armed and execute a well-planned break-in, and use threats or violence, is eight years. There are very specific criteria for what constitutes a home invasion robbery for the purposes of meeting the 8 year starting point sentence, and it is important to review the case thoroughly to determine if the test is met.

With charges as serious as robbery, it is important to have an experienced criminal lawyer thoroughly review your case.

Even if the evidence is stacked against you, it may be possible to negotiate a resolution to avoid a very lengthy jail sentence. If your strategy is “damage control”, let us help by negotiating the best possible sentence with the Crown. We may be able to convince the Crown to let you plead guilty to a lesser charge, or agree to a set of facts that takes your case outside one of the above categories.