Many crimes types are committed every day. Some are minor and lots of people commit them. Minor crime examples are traffic violations, such as speeding or illegal u-turns. Some crimes are serious and don't happen as much, fortunately. One example of a serious crime is robbery.

Robbery is taking property from another by force or threats. It's a theft type in that property is illegally taken. However, robbery is more serious than normal theft because force or threats are used. This is especially true if the robber uses a weapon to take property.

Robbery Elements

Crimes are made up of elements that must be met to convict a person. Robbery has four main elements. A person is guilty of robbery if he:

  • Takes property from its rightful owner
  • Acts without the owner's permission 
  • Intends to steal property 
  • Uses force or intimidation against the owner

A person must have specific intent to commit robbery. If he's just borrowing property or playing a joke, it's not robbery.

The force or intimidation must be directly related to taking of property for the act to be robbery. It can't be after the property is taken. The force or intimidation must be immediate. There's no robbery if the threat is for future violence.

Aggravated Robbery

Sometimes robbery happens under circumstances making it more serious than simple robbery. This is called aggravated robbery. A variety of factors that can turn simple robbery into aggravated robbery. Common aggravating factors include:

  • Using a deadly weapon
  • Inflicting serious bodily harm

A deadly weapon is one that can be used to kill or seriously injure. Use of a deadly weapon to force or threaten someone to steal his property is an aggravating factor increasing crime severity. Common deadly weapons include guns and knives.

If a person inflicts serious bodily harm on a victim, he may also be charged with aggravated robbery, even without using a deadly weapon. Laws impose a more serious punishment when a victim is seriously hurt, and not just threatened. Some states don't require serious injury in some cases. For example, a person is guilty in Texas of aggravated robbery if he causes bodily injury to anyone 65 years or older or who's disabled.

Punishment for Robbery

Robbery is considered a felony. Most states and the federal government classify a crime that's punishable by more than one year in prison as a felony. Some states consider a felony as any crime that's punishable by any prison time.

In contrast, an inexpensive theft is usually considered a misdemeanor. Most states and the federal government classify a crime that's punishable by less than one year in prison as a misdemeanor. Some states consider a misdemeanor as any crime that's punishable only by fine or short jail sentence. Whether a crime is a robbery or a theft will have a great impact on punishment.

Usual punishment for robbery conviction is a prison sentence. Sentence length depends on someone's criminal history and case circumstances. A large fine may also be imposed on top of any prison sentence. States usually have increased punishments for aggravated robbery.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • If a person snatches a purse from a woman, is it robbery? What if he threatens her before he takes it?
  • Is it robbery if I use a weapon to gain possession of property that I own?
  • If someone tells me I will get hurt next month if I don't give him my shoes, is he guilty of committing robbery?

Tagged as: Criminal Law, robbery crime, criminal lawyer