Robbery is a form of felony theft and is defined as the taking of property from another person by the use of force, intimidation, or the threat of force. In some states, the use or threat of force does not need to be directed at the intended victim. If the robbery is committed with a firearm or other weapon, it may constitute armed robbery, which often includes a more severe penalty. It should be noted that robbery is often confused with burglary, which is the breaking and entering of a structure.

Each state has different penal codes in defining the elements of a robbery charge, but the general elements of robbery consists of:

  • The taking and carrying away
  • Personal property of another
  • From his or her possession or in their presence
  • Against his or her will
  • By force, fear, violence, intimidation or threat of force

Factors for Determining the Severity of Punishment

Robbery can come in different degrees. Robbery that does not consist of any injury or severe use of violence is usually a second-degree felony in most states. Robbery can become first-degree if the defendant uses dangerous weapons, accomplishes the crime through severe injury on victim, or attempts to kill the victim during the commission of the crime.

Since robbery is defined as a “inherently dangerous felony and death can be forseeable, a robbery can also be a first degree felony murder if someone is killed during the commission of the crime even if the defendant never intended to kill the victim..

Other elements in determining the severity of robbery charge are:

  • Use of a firearm or weapon
  • Previous criminal record
  • Currently on probation
  • Resulting injury or death to victim
  • Property stolen
  • Location of the crime
  • Victim of the crime
  • Number of accomplices, such as getaway drivers or lookouts

The consequences of robbery include:

  • Imprisonment ranging from a year to life, depending on the relevant factors
  • Probation
  • Fines

Are There Any Defenses to Accusations of Robbery?

Robbery is considered a serious crime by almost all states. In every criminal charge, the government has the burden in proving that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Every elements of the charge must be proved by the persecution, while the defendant can rebut each element by an affirmative defense.

Other possible robbery defenses include: lack of evidence, intoxication, and duress. Also, the defendant may have a defense if he or she believed that the property stolen was truly his or her own.

Seeking Legal Help

If you are accused of robbery you should speak to a lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses, and the complicated legal system. A criminal defense attorney has the experience and knowledge to help defend you.

If you are a victim of robbery, you should call the police. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will forward your case to the District Attorney's office to prosecute the person who committed the crime against you.