Rhode Island Robbery Defense Lawyers

Robbery is defined as the felonious and forcible taking of property of any value from another person by violence or by putting a person in fear.  In Rhode Island, there are two types of Robbery: First Degree Robbery and Second Degree Robbery.

The differences in depends on whether there are aggravating circumstances surrounding the Robbery such as the use of a weapon, or the status of the person who was robbed.  

If there is no use or threat of force or violence to commit the taking, then there is no Robbery, however; the defendant may still be guilty of Larceny from a Person. 

First Degree Robbery

Under Rhode Island Criminal law, First Degree Robbery may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-39-1.  First Degree Robbery punishes a Robbery by the use of a dangerous weapon or where the victim is injured, or the victim is a person who is severely impaired or elderly. 

A person may also be convicted of First Degree Robbery if the Robbery was committed with the use of a dangerous weapon to seize a motor vehicle from another person and such person suffered a serious bodily injury.  This is commonly knowns as carjacking, and may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-39-2.

Legal Elements of First Degree Robbery

In order to be convicted of First-Degree Robbery, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. the defendant took some property, money or goods of some value;
  2. from another person or in his or her presence;
  3. the defendant took the property, money or goods against the will of the alleged victim by the use of violence or by putting him or her in fear;
  4. the defendant did so with the specific intent of wholly and permanently depriving the owner of that property, money or goods; and
  5. that the defendant used the dangerous weapon in question or injured the alleged victim during the robbery, or the alleged victim was a severely impaired or elderly person.

Potential Punishment if Convicted of First-Degree Robbery in Rhode Island

Under Rhode Island law, a conviction for First Degree Robbery is a capital felony offense.   Convicted offenders shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 10 years and may be imprisoned for up to life. This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-39-1.

Bail in First Degree Robbery Cases

Under Rhode Island criminal law, First Degree Robbery is considered a capital offense.  This means the prosecution has the discretion to ask the Court to hold those accused of First Degree Robbery without bail.  

Upon such a request, the court has the power to hold the defendant pending the outcome of an evidentiary bail hearing, which normally is scheduled to occur within ten (10) days of the defendant’s arraignment or initial appearance before the court for a Robbery charge. 

At a bail hearing, the prosecution bears the burden of proving to the court’s satisfaction that proof of the defendant’s guilt is evident, or the presumption of guilt is great.  If unsuccessful at meeting this burden, the court must order the defendant’s release on bail. 

If the prosecution succeeds at meeting this burden, the court still has discretion to release the defendant on bail based on his ties to the community, evidence he or she is not a flight risk, individual respect for the law, and severity of punishment, if convicted, after trial.

Second Degree Robbery

Under Rhode Island criminal law, Second Degree Robbery may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-39-1. Second Degree Robbery punishes a Robbery or any other Larceny from a person by force or threat, where there is no weapon or injury, and the victim is neither severely impaired nor elderly.   A person may also be convicted of Second Degree Robbery if the Robbery was committed to seize a motor vehicle from another person by force or threat of force.  This is commonly referred to as carjacking, and may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-39-2.

Legal Elements of Second Degree Robbery

In order to be convicted of Second Degree Robbery, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. the defendant took property of some value;
  2. from another person or in his or her presence;
  3. the defendant took the property, money or goods against the will of the alleged victim by the use of violence or by putting him or her in fear;
  4. the defendant did so with the specific intent of wholly and permanently depriving the owner of that property, money or goods. 

Potential Punishment if Convicted of Second-Degree Robbery in Rhode Island

Under Rhode Island law, a conviction for Second Degree Robbery is a felony offense that is punishable by imprisonment for not less than 5 years nor more than 20 years.  This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-39-1.


If you have been implicated in a robbery and need expert legal representation, contact the Rhode Island Theft Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.