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What Are Robbery Charges?

Threatening to use violence in a theft can lead to robbery charges.
Use of a gun in a theft can result in aggravated robbery charges.
In many places, robbery charges are considered felonies.
Aggravated robbery, which involves the use of a deadly weapon, is a more serious crime than is armed robbery.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2014
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A robbery charge is a type of criminal charge. When a person is charged with robbery, this means he is accused of taking something from another party in a violent manner. For example, he may use violence to steal from another person, or he may threaten another person with violence in order to take something valuable from him. In some places, a person may face such charges even if he failed to take something of value, and attempting to steal in this manner may be enough in many jurisdictions.

Often, people confuse robbery with other types of theft. For example, they may expect a burglar to face these charges, or they may consider it robbery if a radio is stolen from a car. Legally, however, there are different types of theft charges and distinct conditions that must be met in order for a person to be charged with one of them. In the case of robbery charges, violence, or the threat of it, is the deciding factor.

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To understand cases in which these charges may apply, it may help to consider a case in which a person threatens to stab someone else if he does not give him money; this is considered robbery. Likewise, the same person may also face these charges if the attack is foiled and he fails to obtain whatever he was attempting to steal. Additionally, shoving a person down on the ground in order to render him unbalanced in order to take something from him is also included in this definition in most places.

Sometimes, a person may be charged with armed robbery, which usually just means he is accused of committing this crime with a weapon. Aggravated robbery, however, is usually a more serious charge. This charge means the individual is accused of using a deadly weapon, such as a gun, to commit a theft.

Interestingly, a person may face aggravated robbery charges even if he had a fake weapon. For example, if a person robs someone with a toy gun, he can still face this charge simply because it looked like a deadly weapon. Additionally, a robber who severely injures or kills another person, or even threatens to do so, may face such charges in some jurisdictions.

In many places, robbery charges are considered felonies. This means robberies are consider more serious than some other types of crimes and may carry harsher penalties. For example, a person may spend more time in jail for committing a felony than a misdemeanor, which is a less serious type of offense. Likewise, he may face higher monetary fines in some cases.

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Discuss this Article

JessicaLynn
Post 7

I was actually the victim of an aggravated robbery quite a few years ago, and I think that misdemeanor charges definitely aren't enough for how serious a crime robbery is. In addition to losing several hundred dollars (I was a waitressing at the time and was coming home from work) and having to spend time replacing all my cards and stuff, it was also really traumatic.

I had PTSD from the whole thing, and many years later I still have flare-ups. The whole thing adversely affected my life to the point where I think the perpetrator should have faced a severe penalty.

However, they never caught the person who robbed me, so I'll never know what he might have been charged with.

Monika
Post 6

@ceilingcat - Yeah, a lot of people do seem to be confused about the difference between robbery and burglary. However, I don't blame them.

I have a friend who is a lawyer, and she told me that when someone commits a crime, the district attorney will charge them with whatever they can. They call this "laundry listing" them. So someone might be charged with both robbery and aggravated battery, for example. And I imagine it might be possible to be charged with robbery and burglary at the same time!

ceilingcat
Post 5

@shell4life - Glad the robber was caught and didn't make off with your purse. I've had my purse stolen before, and it's a pain to try to replace your license and various other cards.

I actually took an intro to law class when I was in college, and I remember touching on this subject. As the article said, a lot of people think robbery and burglary are the same (or mix the two up) but they aren't. For a burglary to occur, all you have to do is break into someones house and take something. You never even have to see another person to face burglary charges.

However, violence seems to be the deciding factor in making a crime a robbery.

shell4life
Post 4

A man took my purse from me on the street, and he was eventually caught and charged with robbery. He did not have a weapon, but he did push me down.

I had my purse over my shoulder, but I didn't have a grip on it with my hand. In a mad rush and in one swift motion, a man in a face mask ran up and grabbed it off of my shoulder while pushing me down hard with his other hand.

Luckily, the street was somewhat crowded, and a couple of guys saw what happen and pinned the robber down. The cops showed up in no time, and the robber was put behind bars.

lighth0se33
Post 3

@Oceana – I believe it varies by state, because each has its own laws. However, a baseball bat could easily be considered a deadly weapon. If you hit someone hard enough in the right spot, you could definitely kill them with it.

So, I would think that it would be called aggravated robbery if he used the bat and possibly even if he didn't. You could argue that it should be simply armed robbery if he did not threaten anyone with the bat, but if he so much as held it up to let them know he had it, then he could receive harsher charges for robbery.

Oceana
Post 2

Does a person actually have to use whatever weapon they are carrying to receive armed robbery charges? Let's say that the robber was carrying a baseball bat, but he didn't actually hit anyone with it. He just had it along to look threatening and in case the person he was robbing started to attack him.

Also, if he does use the weapon, would it still be armed robbery, or would it be aggravated robbery? Is a baseball bat considered a deadly weapon if he only knocks a person out with it and doesn't do permanent damage to them?

OeKc05
Post 1

It amazes me that someone attempting robbery with a toy gun can still be charged with felony robbery. I suppose that they evoke the same fearful response as a person with a real gun, but what about the fact that they could not actually have used the weapon to kill a person? Does that not factor into the seriousness of the crime?

I'm sure I would be upset if someone pointed even a fake gun at me. I might be even more upset after I found out it wasn't real, because had I known that, I could have just overtaken the guy and avoided the whole ordeal.

I definitely think a toy gun robber should be punished, but I don't think it should qualify as aggravated robbery. It just seems less serious to me than cases involving weapons that are actually harmful.

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