Robbery Lawyers

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 What is Robbery?

Robbery is a felony theft crime involving taking property from another person through force, intimidation, or the threat of force. This is why it is sometimes called “larceny by threat or force.”

In certain states, the use or threat of force does not need to be directed at the intended victim, but it must be immediate, and the crime must be committed in the victim’s presence.

What is Armed Robbery?

A robbery using a firearm or another deadly weapon may be classified as armed robbery, often resulting in harsher penalties for the defendant.

What are the Elements of Robbery?

Although each state’s laws vary slightly in their definitions of robbery, the general elements typically include the following:

  1. The taking and carrying away of another’s personal property;
  2. From their possession or in their presence;
  3. Against their will;
  4. By force, fear, violence, intimidation, or threat of force.

Below, we will go over examples of each element being met.

The Taking and Carrying Away of Another’s Personal Property

Example: A thief forcefully snatches a woman’s purse from her shoulder while walking down the street and runs away.

From Their Possession or in Their Presence

Example: A man enters a convenience store, points a gun at the cashier, and demands the money in the cash register. The cashier hands over the money while in the presence of the robber.

Against Their Will

Example: A teenager threatens to punch a pedestrian if they don’t hand over their wallet. Fearing for their safety, the pedestrian complies and gives the teenager their wallet, even though they don’t want to.

By Force

Example: A burglar breaks into a home, physically restrains the homeowner, and takes their valuable possessions.


Example: A criminal approaches a person in a dark alley and threatens to hurt them if they don’t hand over their phone. The person, afraid of being harmed, complies and hands over their phone.


Example: A robber enters a bank and begins shooting at the ceiling, causing panic and chaos. The robber then forces the bank teller to give them the money while the customers and employees are too scared to intervene.


Example: A group of gang members surrounds a store owner and demands protection money. The store owner, feeling threatened by the gang’s presence and the potential consequences of not paying, complies with their demands.

Threat of Force

Example: A pickpocket approaches a person at a bus stop and discreetly shows them a knife, implying that they will use it if the person doesn’t hand over their wallet. Fearing for their safety, the person hands the wallet to the pickpocket.

Is Robbery the Same as Burglary?

Robbery is often confused with burglary, but they are not the same.

Burglary involves breaking and entering a home or building with the intent to commit a felony inside.

The primary differences are the “breaking and entering” element and that burglary does not necessarily involve force or threat of force.

What are Some Factors Used to Determine the Severity of Punishment for Robbery Charges?

The severity of punishment for robbery charges may vary based on the degree of the crime.

For example, a robbery that does not result in injury or severe use of violence is generally considered a second-degree felony in most states.

A robbery may become a first-degree offense if the defendant uses dangerous weapons, inflicts severe injury, or tries to kill the victim during the crime.

Robbery can be considered an inherently dangerous felony, and death may be a foreseeable consequence. A robbery can become a first-degree felony murder charge if someone is killed during the crime, even if the defendant never intended to kill the victim.

What Determines the Severity of the Robbery Charge?

Factors typically used to determine the seriousness of a robbery charge include:

  1. Involvement of a firearm or weapon (e.g., armed robbery);
  2. The type of property stolen;
  3. The location of the crime;
  4. The type of victim targeted;
  5. The defendant’s prior criminal record or current probation status;
  6. The number of accomplices involved, such as getaway drivers or lookouts;
  7. The amount of force used and whether it resulted in injury or death.

What Are the Penalties for Robbery?

Consequences for a robbery conviction may include probation, criminal fines, and imprisonment, ranging from one year to a life sentence. These consequences depend on each state’s statutes and the degree of robbery involved.

Are There Any Defenses to a Robbery Accusation?

Robbery is a serious crime in every state.

The prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for every charge.

This means that every element of the charge must be proven, and the defendant can rebut this by using an affirmative defense.

An affirmative defense implies that one of the crime’s elements cannot be proven for a specific reason. For example, if the defendant took someone’s personal property but did not intend to steal it (e.g., borrowing), they may assert this as an affirmative defense if they can prove it.

Other potential defenses to robbery include:

  • Intoxication: If the defendant was involuntarily intoxicated, it might constitute a defense. If they were voluntarily intoxicated, they might receive a lesser penalty if they can argue they lacked the intent required for robbery.
  • Duress: If the defendant was forced to commit the robbery under threat of death or bodily injury, they might claim duress as a defense.
  • Lack of Evidence: This may be a defense if the prosecutor cannot prove certain evidence, such as the defendant’s identity or that nothing was stolen or intended to be stolen.
  • True Owner: Depending on the circumstances and proof of ownership, it might be a defense if the defendant believed they were the true owner of the personal property they took or even the actual owner.

Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney If I am Facing a Robbery Charge?

If you are accused of robbery, you should contact a local criminal defense lawyer immediately.

They can provide the following:

  • Information about protecting your rights.
  • Determining if any defenses apply to your case.
  • Explaining the laws in your specific state.
  • Discussing the best options for proceeding

An experienced criminal defense attorney can also help prepare your case, negotiate on your behalf during a plea agreement, and represent you in court if necessary.

If you are a victim of robbery, you should call the police. They will determine if there is enough evidence to forward the case to the local district attorney’s office. The district attorney will then decide whether to prosecute the person who committed the crime against you or drop the charges if they believe there is insufficient evidence.

If the prosecutor decides to drop the case, you still have the option to contact a local attorney and pursue the case against the defendant as a private matter.

How Can LegalMatch Help?

LegalMatch is a platform that connects people with experienced attorneys in their local area. If you are facing a robbery charge, LegalMatch can match you with criminal defense attorneys who have experience handling similar cases.

Before selecting the best match for your needs, you can review each attorney’s profile, including their education, experience, and client reviews.

LegalMatch also provides a free online legal library to help you better understand your case and the laws related to robbery charges. This library includes articles, FAQs, and legal guides written by attorneys.

Additionally, LegalMatch offers a confidential and secure messaging platform that allows you to communicate with your attorney directly. Our platform ensures that your communications are protected.

Use LegalMatch to connect with experienced criminal defense attorneys and better understand your legal options.

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