Robbery is generally a more serious crime than theft or shoplifting because it involves the threat of violence against the victim.

Some situations that are reported as a crime just involved a disagreement or misunderstanding. Disagreeing over who owns something could end up in a fight, with one person facing felony criminal charges. If you are accused of robbery, talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer for help.

What Is Robbery?

The crime of robbery generally involves taking property from another by use of force or fear. For example, grabbing someone’s purse and running off with it could be an example of robbery. Forceful taking of the property does not have to involve any injury, grabbing something and running away may be enough to be considered forceful.

Another way that robbery is different from other theft crimes is that it generally happens in the presence of the owner. So taking the purse off a restaurant table when the owner is having lunch may also be considered robbery.

Breaking into an empty car and taking a bag may be considered theft but it would not generally be robbery. Using a con to lie to someone to get them to hand over money or property would also not generally be considered robbery.

Elements of a Robbery Charge

The prosecutor in a criminal case must prove every element of the charge to get a conviction. The elements of a robbery charge depend on state laws. For example, the elements could include:

  • You took property that was not your own
  • Someone else possessed the property you took
  • You took the property from the other person or in their immediate presence
  • You took the property against the person’s will
  • You used force or fear to take the property or to prevent them from resisting
  • When you used force or fear, you intended to permanently deprive the owner of their property

When lawyers defend people against criminal convictions, they may focus on one or more elements to challenge the prosecutor’s claims. If the state cannot prove all elements of the offense, you should be found not guilty.

Armed Robbery

Armed robbery is a form of aggravated robbery involving a gun or firearm. This could include shooting, flashing a gun, or hitting someone with a pistol. Gun crimes generally carry greater penalties, even if you never actually used the gun. Use of a firearm to commit a felony could result in enhanced punishment, including a longer minimum prison sentence.


Carjacking may be considered a type of robbery or a separate criminal offense under your state’s penal code. Carjacking involves taking someone else’s vehicle by using force or the threat of force. The penalties for carjacking may be more serious than standard robbery charges.

Criminal Penalties

The criminal penalties for robbery depend on the individual situation. Factors that may impact the criminal penalties for a robbery conviction include:

  • The amount of force used
  • The victim’s injuries
  • Whether you used a weapon
  • The type of property taken
  • Your criminal history

Robbery is typically a felony charge. The penalties for a felony conviction may include five years or more in prison. After your release from prison, you may still have to spend years on parole, with parole restrictions including random drug tests, reporting to the parole officer, and restrictions on travel.

A felony conviction has long-term consequences that may continue for the rest of your life. This can include limits on finding work in certain professions and accessing government benefits, housing, voting, and gun ownership.

Criminal Defense Attorney Strategies for Robbery Charges

Because the effects of a robbery conviction can be severe, it is essential to mount a strong defense with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Criminal defense attorneys have a variety of legal strategies to help their clients. The attorney-client relationship should be based on trust. After a consultation with your defense lawyers, you should have a better idea of the defenses available in your case. Some common legal defenses include:

  • Mistaken identity
  • You thought the property belonged to someone else
  • The owner gave you permission to take the property
  • You only meant to borrow the item
  • You used no force or threats
  • Police conducted an illegal search and seizure to recover the alleged stolen property

Your attorney may use the police violating your rights or compelling evidence of another kind to have a judge dismiss or reduce the charges. It could also lead to a plea bargain on a much lesser offense. It may also be possible to achieve a not guilty verdict at a trial. A criminal defense attorney can help you think through all of your options.

Speak to an Experienced Robbery Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified robbery lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local robbery attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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