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Robbery charges are serious.  Contact our Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys to start fighting your case.

At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we aggressively defend robbery cases throughout Wisconsin.  Our criminal defense attorneys have significant experience filing pretrial motions, negotiating excellent resolutions, and fighting for you at trial.  100% of our criminal defense firm’s resources focus on defending criminal cases, just like yours.  If you’re looking for a criminal defense specialist, one of our attorneys is surely a great match.

If you face robbery or armed robbery charges, contact Meyer Van Severen today.  Our criminal defense lawyers are standing by and respond to phone calls 24/7.  Remember: not all law firms specialize in criminal defense.  What happens when you are in the trenches fighting a tough criminal case?  Is that divorce attorney going to get you through?  Is he going to win your case?

Criminal defense attorneys Matthew R. Meyer and Benjamin T. Van Severen regularly defend robbery cases and want to help with yours.  Our criminal defense firm only handles criminal defense and drunk driving defense cases.  Surely we refuse all non-criminal cases.  If you face any kind of criminal charges, call us at (414) 270-0202.


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What is the definition of robbery?

Section 943.32 of the Wisconsin Statutes defines robbery.  That statute indicates:

(1) Whoever, with intent to steal, takes property from the person or presence of the owner by either of the following means is guilty of a Class E felony:

(a) By using force against he person of the owner with intent thereby to overcome his or her physical resistance… or
(b) By threatening the imminent use of force against the person of the owner or of another who is present with intent thereby to compel the owner to acquiesce in the taking or carrying away of the property.

Typically we call these charges robbery with use of force, or robbery with threat of force.  The armed version of this offense is surely different.

Elements of the offense:

All crimes in Wisconsin have certain elements, or parts.   Robbery is certainly no exception.  To sustain a conviction, the government must prove all these elements.  Wisconsin Jury Instruction Criminal 1479 provides the elements:

  • Firstly, the victim was the owner of property; and
  • Secondly, the defendant took and carried away the property of the person or from the presence of the person; and
  • Thirdly, the defendant took the property with the intent to steal; and
  • Finally, the defendant acted forcibly (or with threat of force).

Prosecutors must satisfy all elements of the offense.  If they fail to do that, you cannot be convicted of the offense.  For example: if the victim was not the actual owner of the property, the first element fails.  And you’re not guilty of robbery.

Robbery with use or threat of force is a Class E felony, carrying with it the potential of $50,000.00 in fines, 15 years in prison, or both.

Relevant criminal definitions:

In order to successfully defend you, we must understand certain definitions and concepts related to robbery.  We’re providing these definitions to better help you understand the issues here.

Forcibly means that the defendant actually used force against the victim, with the intent to overcome or prevent his physical resistance or physical power of resistance to the taking or carrying away of the property.  Alternatively it means the defendant threatened the imminent use of force against the victim with the intent to compel victim to submit to the taking or carrying away of the property.  Wisconsin JI-Criminal 1479.

Imminent means “near at hand” or “on the point of happening.”  Wisconsin JI-Criminal 1479.


 Armed robbery: what’s the difference?

Armed robbery is based on the same statutory definition listed above.  The difference is that armed robbery involves “use or threat of use of a dangerous weapon, [pepper spray,] or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim reasonably to believe that it is a dangerous weapon [or pepper spray].  For example: defendant punches victim with his fists and takes his property.  Cleary this is robbery with use of force.  If the defendant used a gun, it’d certainly be armed robbery.

Regarding these crimes, the term “owner” means a person in possession of the property, whether that person’s possession is lawful or unlawful.  Wisconsin JI-Criminal 1479.  This means that in certain cases, even if the “victim” illegally possesses the property, one cannot commit robbery or armed robbery in an attempt to remedy the illegal activity.  These definitions must be understood by your defense attorney before quality robbery defense can be provided to you.

Armed robbery is a Class C felony, carrying potential penalties of 40 years in prison, a $100,000.00 fine, or both.

The elements of armed robbery:

Certainly there are elements for armed robbery.  To clarify, let’s look at Wisconsin Jury Instruction Criminal 1480:

  • Firstly, the victim was the owner or property; and
  • Secondly, the defendant took and carried away property from the person or from the presence of victim; and
  • Thirdly, the defendant took the property with intent to steal; and
  • Fourthly, the defendant acted forcibly; and
  • Finally, at the time of the taking or carrying away, the defendant used or threatened to use a dangerous weapon.

 How do we win my robbery case?

We will talk about that at your initial consultation.  We need to go through the facts and figure out the strengths and the weaknesses of your case.  Once that’s determined we can determine if there are any motion issues, if you’d like to negotiate a plea, or if you’d like to take your case through a jury trial.

It’s important that your criminal defense attorney keep on top of evolving criminal law.  Robbery law has been modified with time.  State v. Moseley, 102 Wis. 2d 636, 307 N.W.2d 200 (1981) clarified that a person satisfies the definition of “owner” if the possession is “actual or constructive.”  In Moseley, employees of a restaurant were all held to be the owners of the restaurant’s money, which was kept in an office desk, because all of them had dominion and control over it.  The case also involved jewelry and a purse that sat on an office shelf.  Since that jewelry and purse only had one true owner (the owner was the only person with control or interest in the property), robbery had only been committed to one individual.  Regarding the money, all employees qualified as owners.

Wisconsin courts have held that carrying away is required for a taking to constitute robbery.  In State v. Johnson, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed a conviction where the defendant never moved the automobile he was accused of robbing.  It’s not robbery if the thing wasn’t actually moved.

And remember: burglary and robbery are substantially different charges.  We defend both.  Burglary charges carry a whole different set of jury instructions, different case law, and different defense strategies.  Robbery of a financial institution is certainly also different.


An armed robbery occurs.
Armed robbery is a serious felony in Wisconsin. For help on your case, hire a top Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer.

Criminal defense attorneys Meyer and Van Severen aggressively defend criminal cases.  Call us today.

Matthew Meyer and Benjamin Van Severen are Milwaukee criminal defense attorney who have certainly defended very serious cases, including robbery.  We can assist you in preparing your best criminal defense.  Finally, if you need help from a robbery defense lawyer, contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. today at (414) 270-0202.