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Is Robbery a Felony?
(8 Most Common Examples and Penalties)

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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Understanding the different types of robbery, the penalties associated with a robbery conviction, and the possible defenses against criminal robbery charges is essential in navigating the legal system and protecting one's rights.

As an experienced defense attorney who has previously handled similar cases, I will provide a comprehensive overview of the different types of robbery, the penalties imposed upon conviction for robbery, and the common defenses that can be used against robbery charges. 

Quick Summary

  • Robbery is a felony in the US, resulting in serious repercussions such as prison sentences, fines, and loss of rights.
  • Robbery involves taking something from another person through force or threats. It is distinct from other theft crimes due to its use of force or threat.
  • Penalties for robbery convictions vary based on severity but may include incarceration, monetary fines, probation restrictions, and restitution payments.

Is Robbery A Felony?

Robbery is a felony in all states across the United States [1]. A picture of a robber behind woman

The penalties for a robbery conviction can be quite severe and life-altering. 

In Florida, individuals convicted of robbery may face lengthy prison sentences, substantial fines, probation or house arrest, and even the potential loss of the right to own a gun or vote. 

Having a felony on one's criminal record can also bring about a range of difficulties, such as difficulty securing employment.

What Is Robbery?

A robbery is a form of theft that involves taking something from another person using force or the threat of force [2]. A picture of robber forcing to steal the woman's bag

This force can take many forms, such as physically overpowering a victim or using an object to intimidate them.

Physically taking something from someone constitute robbery.

Robbery is unique in that it is not only an offense against property but also an offense against a person, as it involves a confrontation between the perpetrator and the victim.

To be considered a robbery, three specific factors must be present in Washington State:

  • Taking someone else's money or property without permission and keeping it is considered theft and trespassing.
  • For violence to occur, there must be either an act of violence or a direct threat of imminent violence.
  • The taking must occur directly from the victim or in the victim's presence.

According to the laws in Washington State, if someone commits robbery while carrying a deadly weapon or appears to be carrying one, causes injury to someone, or robs a financial institution, they can be charged with first-degree robbery [3]. 

This is considered a Class A felony.

Robbery in the Second Degree in Washington State applies to those who commit robbery without using a weapon, without causing injury, and without targeting a financial institution. It is classified as a Class B felony.

Robbery Related charges can include, for example:

  • Grand theft
  • Petty theft or shoplifting
  • Armed robbery
  • Aggravated robbery

Examples of robbery include:

  • Taking someone's personal property using physical force or threatening violence
  • Taking property, including money, from a victim using a deadly weapon
  • Knocking the victim unconscious and then stealing their property
  • Entering a home to commit a theft or other crime

According to the New York Penal Code 160.05, robbery crimes in the Third Degree are categorized as a class "D" felony [4]. 

This means that if a first-time offender is found guilty, they may not be required to serve a minimum jail sentence. A person convicted of robbery could still face up to seven years in state prison.

"Theft is a crime against property, whereas robbery is a crime against a person. Robbery encompasses theft (or attempted theft) plus force or intimidation. The use or theft of force makes robbery, in most cases, the more serious crime."
-Rebecca Pirius, Attorney and Senior Policy Specialist at The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Classifications Of Robbery Offenses

A photo of robber outside the carRobbery offenses are classified according to the severity of the offense, including armed robbery, aggravated robbery, and simple robbery.

1. Armed Robbery

Armed robbery is a serious offense involving using a weapon to intimidate the victim.

This robbery can lead to a Class X felony charge, with potential sentences ranging from a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 to 30 years in prison, hefty fines, and no possibility of probation [5].

2. Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated robbery is defined as a robbery that involves a deadly weapon, serious injury to a victim, a home invasion or carjacking, or a vulnerable victim. 

This type of robbery is considered more severe than simple robbery due to aggravating factors, such as using a weapon or inflicting bodily injury on the victim.

3. Simple Robbery

Simple robbery is the taking of any property of value belonging to another from the person in immediate control of another through force or threat of force. A photo of robber following the woman

This type of robbery does not involve the aggravating factors present in armed or aggravated robbery, making it a lesser offense.

However, the penalties associated with simple robbery can still be significant, including incarceration and monetary penalties and retaining the stolen property. Common defenses in simple robbery cases include lack of intent, knowledge, and self-defense.

What Are The Penalties For Robbery?

The penalties for robbery convictions depend on the degree of the offense.

In general, first-degree felony carries a potential prison sentence of up to nine years, while second-degree robbery can result in a prison sentence of up to five years. 

In Florida, the fines for a robbery conviction can range from $5,000 to $15,000, and prison sentences can range from five years to life imprisonment.

Beyond incarceration and financial penalties, a robbery conviction in Florida can also lead to a permanent criminal record, probation or house arrest, potential revocation of the right to own a gun or vote, and the requirement to pay restitution and court fines. 

Common Defenses Against Robbery Charges

A photo of a person handcuffedTo find you guilty of violating California Penal Code section §496(a) for receiving stolen property, the prosecution needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you either purchased, received, sold, helped sell, concealed, or withheld property that was stolen from the owner or obtained through extortion according to the California Criminal Jury Instructions [6].

Several common legal defenses can be employed against robbery charges. These may include mistaken identity, duress, intoxication, innocence, entrapment, and the lack of intent to cause serious bodily harm. 

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Is Robbery A Felony In The United States?

Yes, robbery is a felony in the United States. Depending on the severity of the robbery, it can be punishable by up to life in prison or even the death penalty in certain states.

What Crime Is Robbery Classified?

Robbery is classified as a violent felony crime involving taking another's property by force or threat of force. It is often associated with other acts, such as mugging and purse snatching, where violence or the threat of it is used to take someone's possessions.

Contact A Criminal Defense Lawyer

When facing criminal charges, it is imperative to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. 

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we have a team of skilled criminal defense lawyers with extensive experience handling robbery cases. By establishing an attorney-client relationship with us, you will have access to the legal defenses necessary to challenge the charges against you. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.