The use of a deadly weapon is usually what separates standard robbery offenses from aggravated robbery charges in Tennessee. Anything from a rifle to a fire ax could be a deadly weapon that strikes fear into the victim of a theft crime and compels them to comply with the demands of the person trying to rob them.

Sometimes, a deadly weapon isn’t recovered from the person accused of a robbery when the police arrest them. Other times, evidence makes it clear that they did not have a deadly weapon. Why might these people still face aggravated robbery charges?

If the victim thinks the weapon is real, it may as well be real

Weapons aggravate theft charges for two reasons. First of all, the presence of a weapon can exacerbate the situation and lead to violence. Secondly, the weapon itself can be a source of trauma for the victim.

That trauma doesn’t go away just because someone finds out that a realistic-looking water gun or a rubber knife was used in the theft. Similarly, neither police officers nor prosecutors are going to have a lenient approach to someone who uses a fake weapon in the commission of a robbery. The perception of the victim at the time of the offense will be enough to justify aggravated robbery charges, as the victim’s behavior reflected their perceived degree of risk.

Given that the risks of using a fake weapon are as severe as the risks associated with a real weapon, it makes sense that those accused of robbery with a fake weapon will still face aggravated robbery charges. If you or a loved one is facing these charges, it’s crucial that you seek legal guidance.