Robbery is a common enough crime depicted on television. Bad guys on television do it every day and always seem to get light punishment from the TV cops. Real life couldn't be further from the truth. Robbery is an incredibly serious crime that entails serious punishments and years behind bars. This article will briefly describe the elements of robbery.
Theft (or "larceny") is the taking of property from another through physical force or fear. This is a very serious crime but it is elevated when the offender uses a deadly weapon, such as a gun or knife. Generally, robberies entail serious injury to the victim. Robbery can be elevated even if no actual deadly weapon is used but the victim reasonably believes there was a weapon.
For example if a criminal comes up from behind someone and sticks an object into a victim's back, then threatens the victim with serious injury - that could be sufficient to raise it to an aggravated attack or robbery. Each state's laws are unique however they all share some variation of the same five factors. That means, that if you commit these five acts you can be charged with robbery:
- The taking with the intent to permanently deprive (or "steal").
- Of the personal property of another. Personal property is anything that you can move. So everything from cars to purses to televisions to exercise bikes however it does not include land or buildings (so if you force someone to sign a deed over to you, it is not robbery).
- From their person or in their presence. Essentially, you have to take the property from on or near their person.
- Against that person's will (so the person has to be awake and withhold consent).
- By intimidation or violence, usually with a deadly weapon.
If you are charged with robbery or another violent crime then you may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney. The use of a weapon in any crime raises the seriousness of the crime and can result in significant prison time and other penalties. Robberies are no different, as illustrated above. Don't take your defense lightly.