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Components of Robbery Cases in Pennsylvania

September 15, 2016

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Robbery falls under the crime category of theft. However, while theft is typically taking personal property from another person without their consent, one of the components of robbery is the menacing part – usually, there is violence, force, or a threat of some sort involved in robbery. (Consider the difference between armed robbery and shoplifting.) Because the level of violence is normally higher in a robbery, sentences for this type of charge will generally be harsher than a sentence for larceny or theft.

If you are charged with a felony robbery charge, you should consult immediately with an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney. There are three degrees of robbery, all three of them are felony charges, and they all carry the potential for several years to a couple of decades in prison, depending on the severity of the crime, the perpetrator’s criminal past, evidence against them, and other specifics of the case.

First-Degree Robbery

A first-degree felony robbery is the most serious and being found guilty of a first-degree felony robbery charge could result in a conviction of 20 years in prison in Pennsylvania. An individual can be found guilty of first-degree robbery if they did any of the following while taking personal property from another person:

  • Inflicted serious bodily harm upon another;
  • Threatened another with or intentionally put him in fear of immediate serious bodily injury; or
  • Committed or threatened immediately to commit any felony of the first or second degree.

Consider the following example of first-degree robbery: two men walk into a convenience store, armed with weapons. They threaten to shoot the cashier if he does not hand over all of the cash in the drawer and the safe. The two armed men do not have to shoot anyone; just the threat of harm is enough to constitute a robbery charge.

Second-Degree Robbery

If bodily injury is inflicted on another while the theft occurs or an individual creates fear of injury in another person during a theft, it is considered second-degree robbery. A sentence for second-degree robbery could result in up to ten years in prison in Pennsylvania.

Third-Degree Robbery

Taking another person’s property with any kind of force, at all, even if it is just the slightest amount, could result in a third-degree robbery charge. This offense carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison in Pennsylvania. Simply physically taking an object out of another person’s hands with the intention of stealing it can be considered third-degree robbery.

As you are probably already aware, facing robbery charges is no walk in the park. You are going to want the best Philadelphia criminal defense attorney you can hire to battle the charges against you and fight for your rights. Call van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim today at (215) 486-0123 for a free case evaluation.


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