Robbery vs. Larceny Penalties

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What Is the Difference between Robbery and Larceny?

Both robbery and larceny are classified as theft crimes. Larceny is the more basic of the two and is generally defined as "the unlawful and unauthorized taking and carrying away of the property of another person, with the intent to deprive them permanently of its use".

In comparison, robbery is often defined as larceny plus the use of force, or accomplished through the use of force, meaning that larceny is a lesser-included offense. This includes threats of physical harm as well. Therefore, thefts such as "hold-ups" and armed bank robberies are generally classified under robbery laws rather than larceny laws. Robbery is a more serious crime due to the element of violence involved.

Are the Penalties Different for Robbery vs. Larceny?

Larceny is generally classified as a misdemeanor offense. Penalties for misdemeanors can range from moderate to less severe, and may include smaller criminal fines along with short jail time (less than one year). For less serious larceny crimes (such as petty theft or shoplifting), a citation may result. The penalties for larceny are usually proportionate to the amount that was stolen.

In comparison, robbery can sometimes be classified as a felony. Penalties for robbery may include prison sentences of greater than one year, higher criminal fines, and other measures such as probation. Aggravating factors such as the use of a deadly weapon can result in increased penalties.

Other Factors to Consider in a Theft Case

One aspect to consider in theft cases is the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the alleged theft. In order to be guilty of theft, the person must be intending to deprive the person of their own property. Thus, if the defendant believes that the property is their own property and not the victims, it can sometimes serve as a defense. On the other hand, this type of defense may be more difficult to prove in a robbery case due to the use of force involved.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Theft Case?

Theft crimes can often involve many different facts and state laws and statutes. You may need to hire a lawyer if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges that involve theft. Your attorney can provide you with advice and answers for any questions you might have, legally speaking. Also, your attorney can represent you during the trial hearings and can help formulate arguments in your defense.

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Last Modified: 12-08-2016 09:42 AM PST

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