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Types of Robbery in Pennsylvania

October 08, 2020

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Recently, two men were arrested in Swissvale in connection with a number of armed robberies in Westmoreland and Washington Counties. They were also accused of robbing a convenience store in the Pittsburgh area in early August. The men are currently in custody after a coordinated effort between three different counties in the state. While the men have been charged with armed robbery, it is important to understand that this is just one type of robbery in Pennsylvania. Below is a description of this type of robbery, and the others governed by state law.

Armed Robbery

As the name suggests, armed robbery typically involves the use of a weapon during the commission of a theft. This offense requires inflicting serious bodily injury on a victim. Knowingly threatening someone with serious bodily injury is also often considered armed robbery, even if no harm occurred. Armed robbery is considered a felony of the first degree. Individuals convicted of this offense will face between 15 and 30 years in prison, with very little chance of early parole.

Strong Arm Robbery

Strong arm robbery is only slightly different than armed robbery. Instead of causing or threatening to cause serious bodily injury, a charge of strong arm robbery only requires the threat of bodily injury during the commission of a theft. Unlike armed robbery, strong arm robbery typically does not require the use of a weapon but instead, physical harm that only requires the use of one’s body, such as punching someone. Strong arm robbery can be charged as either a first or second degree felony, depending on the type of harm sustained or threatened.

Robbery as a Phone or Purse Snatching

Taking property from someone else using little force is considered robbery as a phone or purse snatching offense. To face these charges, however, the alleged victim must be aware that the theft is occurring. As such, if someone simply stole a wallet from someone else’s pocket and the victim did not know, the accused would only face misdemeanor charges of theft rather than the more serious offense of robbery as a phone or purse snatching.

The Importance of a Strong Defense

Due to the fact that there are so many different types of robbery in Pennsylvania, speaking to an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial after being charged with any type of this offense. The prosecution is often overzealous in their pursuit of a conviction and may misinterpret facts of the case so the accused faces harsher sentences. An attorney will ensure the rights of anyone charged are upheld, and accurately represent the facts.

Call Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

If you have been charged with any type of robbery or other offense, do not hesitate to call our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, our experienced attorneys understand the defenses to use in these cases to give you the best chance of retaining your freedom. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys.


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