In Georgia, theft by taking is the taking of property which belongs to another individual. The offender takes the property from another individual without their permission.

The offender also takes the individual’s property with the intent to never return that property to its rightful owner, which is also called the intent to deprive the owner.

Theft by taking becomes robbery when the offender takes the property of another individual with the intent to permanently deprive the individual of their property and uses force or another violent method in order to do so.

Are Theft by Taking and Robbery the Same Crime?

Theft by taking and robbery are not the same crime under Georgia law. As noted above, robbery does involve committing a theft. However, it also involves the use of force or threat of the use of force.

Are Robbery and Armed Robbery the Same Crime?

Pursuant to Georgia law, robbery and armed robbery are separate crimes. Similar to robbery, armed robbery is the taking of property of another with the intent to commit a theft. In an armed robbery, however, the defendant is accused of using a weapon during the commission of the robbery.

What is the Law in Georgia Regarding Robbery?

Robbery is a subcategory of felony theft which involves the taking of property from another individual while using:

  • Force;
  • Intimidation; or
  • The threat of force.

Because of the use of force or a threat, robbery may be referred to as larceny by threat or force. Some states do not require that the use or threat of use of force be directed at the intended victim.

The threat does, however, have to be immediate. Additionally, the robbery must be committed in the presence of the victim.

If an offender commits a robbery while using a deadly weapon, such as a firearm, the offense may be classified as an armed robbery. An armed robbery conviction will typically result in a harsher penalty for the defendant, the offender.

The laws in each state may differ slightly regarding their definition of what constitutes a robbery. The general elements, however, of robbery often include:

  • The taking and carrying away;
  • Of the personal property of another;
  • From their possession or in their presence;
  • Against their will;
  • By:
    • fear;
    • violence;
    • force;
    • intimidation; or
    • threat of force.

It is important to note that, although the offenses of burglary and robbery are often confused, the crimes are different. Burglary is defined as breaking and entering into a residence or another structure with the intent to commit a felony therein.

The main distinction between burglary and robbery is that burglary has the element of breaking and entering. Additionally, burglary does not always include the use or threat of force.

Pursuant to Georgia law, robbery is a crime that an individual commits when they take the property of another individual, either from their person or from their immediate surroundings, with the intent to deprive the individual of that property.

In order to commit a robbery, a perpetrator must take the property by:

  • Using force;
  • Intimidating the victim;
  • Coercion;
  • Placing the victim in fear of an immediate serious bodily injury happening to either themselves or to another individual;
  • Threatening the victim; and
  • Suddenly snatching the property.

What is the Penalty for Robbing Someone in Georgia?

In Georgia, if a defendant is convicted of a robbery, they may face:

  • A prison sentence of 1 to 20 years;
  • Criminal fines between $1,000 and $10,000; or
  • A combination of both.

If the robbery victim is 65 years of age or older, the sentence can range from 5 to 20 years in prison. The punishment for armed robbery is also more severe.

If convicted of armed robbery, the defendant may face 10 to 20 years in prison. The sentence will include a minimum of 10 years in prison without the possibility of early release.
It is also common for a defendant convicted of armed robbery in Georgia to receive a life sentence. The most severe possible punishment for armed robbery in Georgia is the death penalty.

If a defendant is convicted of armed robbery of a pharmacy in Georgia, the punishment is more severe. If a defendant robs a pharmacy and steals prescription drugs and inflicts serious bodily injury upon an individual during the robbery, they may face a prison sentence of no less than 15 years. The defendant will be required to serve at least 10 years in prison without the possibility of early release.

Additionally, if a defendant has a prior serious felony conviction from anywhere in the United States and they are convicted of a serious felony in Georgia that does not require the death penalty, the defendant will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Can I Get More Time in Prison if the Victim is an Elderly Individual?

Yes, as noted above, the age of the victim may be an aggravating factor for robbery. Pursuant to Georgia law, a defendant may face a harsher punishment if the victim is 65 years of age or older. As previously noted, the punishment for robbery of an elderly victim over the age of 65 is imprisonment for 5 to 20 years.

Are there Legal Defenses to Robbery?

Yes, there are legal defenses which may be available for a defendant to robbery charges, depending on the circumstances of their case. Due to the violent nature of the crime of robbery, the majority of states consider it to be a serious crime and treat it as such.

Depending on the circumstances of their case, a defendant may be able to present one of several defenses, which may include:

  • Burden of proof;
  • Lack of evidence;
  • Actual innocence;
  • Intoxication;
  • Duress; and
  • True owner.

The prosecution has the burden of proof to prove each and every element of the crime charged. The burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest burden in criminal law.

The prosecution is also required to prove that the defendant was the individual who committed the robbery. If the prosecution does not prove certain elements of the crime, this is a lack of evidence.

In some cases, a defendant may be able to provide proof that they were not the individual who committed the crime. This may include evidence showing that they were at a different location than where the crime occurred at the time the crime occurred.

Intoxication is an affirmative defense. If a defendant was involuntarily intoxicated at the time of the robbery, it may be presented as a defense. If they were voluntarily intoxicated, the charges may be reduced.

A duress defense may be available if a defendant was forced by a threat of bodily injury or death to commit the robbery. It is important to note that this defense may be difficult to prove in court.

Another defense which may be available is the true owner defense. A defendant may be able to prove that either they are the true owner of the property or that they reasonably believed that they were the true owner of the property that they allegedly took.

Do I Need to Talk to a Lawyer?

It is advantageous to have the assistance of a Georgia criminal lawyer if you have been charged with robbery of an elderly person. Your lawyer can advise you regarding how Georgia law applies to your case, whether any defenses are available to you, and represent you during any court proceedings.