As stated in the criminal statutes of the Utah Code, the crime of aggravated robbery comprises all the distinct elements of a common robbery crime but combined with an enhancing factor or aggravating element. A charge of common robbery could only become aggravated robbery if the aggravating factor is proven in court.
Enhancing Factors of Aggravated Robbery
Among the most common enhancing factors in aggravated robbery charges is the actual or threatened use of a deadly weapon while the perpetrator is in the act of committing the crime. According to JubeLaw.com, the Utah Code does not actually require the presence of a deadly weapon during the crime.
The factor of using or threatening to use a deadly weapon could be proven by evidence that the perpetrator claimed to be carrying the said weapon and insinuated to utilize it on the victim. To illustrate, placing your hand in your pants pocket and saying that you’re carrying a deadly weapon could be considered threatening to use the weapon, regardless if you really used it or not.
A common robbery could also be aggravated if the perpetrator causes severe bodily harm to another individual while committing the robbery. Severe bodily harm is an injury that causes or creates severe and permanent disfigurement, prolonged impairment or function loss of any body organ or member, or a significant death risk.
Another aggravating factor to a common robbery charge involves the taking or the attempt of taking a motor vehicle while committing the crime, perhaps to be used for getting away from the crime scene. This could likewise indicate carjacking, wherein the stolen object is the vehicle itself.
Potential Punishments for Aggravated Robbery
When a charge of common robbery is elevated to a charge aggravated robbery, the sentence is also elevated from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony with a possibility of life imprisonment, along with a fine of $10,000 maximum, plus a surcharge of 90%.
Robbery is not only a violation of civility but of morality as well. This is why it often carries with it a huge penalty–and social stigma as well.