In Minnesota, a conviction for even a “simple” robbery can get you a 10-year prison term and a fine of $20,000. Your situation gets worse, however, if you’re charged with aggravated robbery.

Aggravated robbery is a specific charge with subcategories. First degree aggravated robbery is the term used to describe a theft of someone else’s personal property while armed with any kind of dangerous weapon. This includes objects made to seem like dangerous weapons or used to fool the victim into believing that you are armed. They also include acts of theft that end up inflicting bodily harm on someone – for example, if you knocked over an elderly woman to steal her purse and she hit her head.

Second degree aggravated robbery, on the other hand, describes a theft where you merely imply that you have a weapon that you could use to hurt the victim.

In essence, that means that if you paint a toy pistol black or use an unloaded gun to rob the corner store, you could be charged with first degree aggravated robbery, which can land you in prison for 20 years and cost you $35,000 in fines. If, instead, you stick your finger in your pocket of your jacket and hold it out like a gun rob someone, you could be charged with second degree aggravated robbery. That could get you up to 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

If you’re facing charges of aggravated robbery of any degree, you’re in serious trouble. Talk to an experienced defense attorney as soon as you can about your rights and potential defenses.