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What is Robbery?

What is Robbery?

Robbery… Explained

Robbery is a serious criminal offense that is considered as a felony offense in every state because of its implied violent nature. It is the forceful taking of someone’s property against their will by physical means or by the threat of force or intimidation that can be reasonably construed as such. It is of no significance if the item taken has little value so long as it has some value and it belongs to someone other than the defendant.

In many states, the offense of robbery can be charged in different degrees depending upon the severity of the crime and if a dangerous weapon was used in committing it. Because of the seriousness of this offense, an experienced robbery attorney is essential to exploring all possible defenses and mitigating circumstances.


Crimes consist of elements or provisions in which must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution. The elements of robbery include:

  1. The taking of property from another person who is in possession or constructive possession. For example, if the robber locks the victim in a room and then takes an item from another room, it satisfies the element of taking.
  2. The lack of consent by the victim.
  3. The intent to steal.

A robbery is not committed if the item or property taken is not within the immediate presence of the victim. For instance, if force or intimidation is used to keep the victim in one place while another person drives several miles away to steal the victim’s car, this is not considered robbery.

Taking also requires that the item be transferred or moved to the robber by the application of force. A wallet that is pick-pocketed could be larceny or a degree of theft, but it is not robbery since the victim was unaware of the taking.

However, if the victim was rendered unconscious by the robber, either by physical force or by surreptitiously slipping a drug to the victim and then taking an item of value from the victim, it is a crime of robbery.

The threat of violence can also be directed at the victim’s family or someone in their presence. It can be by words or gestures that reasonably put a sense of fear in the victim. If the alleged robber, though, takes the item as a prank or by a mistaken impression the item belongs to the accused, it may not satisfy the element of intent.

A skilled robbery attorney can ensure that the prosecution meets its burden in proving each element of the defense and ensuring that your rights are protected.


Most states have different degrees of the offense. Aggravating circumstances that elevate the crime to aggravated robbery or first degree robbery usually require that the accused be armed with a deadly weapon, or have inflicted serious bodily injury, or if more than one person was involved.

Sentences for robbery typically involve jail or state prison time of at least one year, although several years are common. If a weapon was used or serious injury inflicted, the sentence is generally enhanced by a number of years.

Having a robbery attorney in your corner, who can present viable defenses, vigorously cross-examine any witnesses against you, and possibly plea bargain or offer an alternative sentence is vital for these charges.

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