Pharmacy robbery – Why it’s a graver offense than regular robbery

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Robbery is a serious offense, and anyone convicted of the crime faces severe punishment in Alabama. Even a robbery charge in the third degree – the lowest criminal degree for the offense – can lead to up to 10 years in prison and as much as $15,000 in fines on conviction.

However, a person accused of robbing a pharmacy faces even harsher penalties.

State law on pharmacy robbery

Per Alabama law, a person commits pharmacy robbery if they rob a pharmacy of any controlled substance. Typically, “controlled substances” refers to medication drugs the state has identified based on their abuse risks, such as Adderall, Xanax, Norco and Lyrica.

But the law doesn’t apply to just pharmacies; stealing drugs from a warehouse, physician’s office, or any other building used for storing and selling controlled substances also counts. Robbing a medical cannabis dispensary also counts, as marijuana is a controlled substance.

Penalties for pharmacy robbery

If a person is convicted of pharmacy robbery, they’ll face imprisonment between 10 and 99 years at hard labor. They’ll also be ineligible for consideration for things like parole, probation, or a suspension of their sentence.

But if a person faces a conviction for a second or subsequent time for the same offense, they’ll serve a life sentence. Similarly, they’ll be ineligible for parole, probation or sentence suspension.

Making a case is critical

The offense of pharmacy robbery is punishable by decades of prison. A conviction also means the accused is disqualified from supervised release or probation. Because of the severity of their potential sentence, anyone facing charges must carefully consider their legal options.