Pennsylvania Criminal Law Topic of the Week: Robbery

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In Pennsylvania, robbery is a crime relating to theft. However, it is important to note that the crime of robbery and the crime of theft are not the same and if you’ve been charged with robbery, it is crucial that you are aware of the differences between the two crimes. In today’s blog, your Western PA criminal defense lawyers break down the elements of robbery and explain how this crime is different from the crime of theft.

So what exactly is the difference between a theft and a robbery under Pennsylvania criminal law? Under PA law, theft is defined simply as taking something that does not belong to you. Robbery is a more serious crime. A robbery still involves a theft, but it also includes the additional element of force.

Force is the factor that makes a robbery a robbery. Interestingly enough, force is an element, but is not required for a person to be charged with robbery. Even the mere threat of force will be enough to elevate a simple theft to robbery. For example, if a person is walking down the street in Pittsburgh and is able to steal a wallet out of another person’s pocket without them noticing, then that person would be charged with theft if he were to be caught. However, if a person steals the same wallet, but then pushed the victim to the ground, or even threatened to hurt the victim in any way, then the charge would be elevated to robbery.

There are a few different types of robbery that a person can be charged with. Robbery in the third degree is usually reserved for situations where no actual harm came to the victim, just a threat of force. Second degree robbery is usually charged where some bodily harm came to the victim, but the harm was not serious. Finally, robbery can be a first degree felony if there was serious bodily injury to the victim. First degree robbery can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The stakes are high when dealing with robbery charges. If you or someone you know has been charged with robbery, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to represent you and ensure that your rights are protected.

If you would like more information or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Pennsylvania robbery defense attorneys, contact our office today.