Robbery is one of the oldest crimes there is, and people use to rob someone colloquially all the time.
People use robbery or robbing someone all the time, and they’re usually using it incorrectly from a legal
standpoint. You hear things like robbing a house. You can’t actually rob a house if you’re stealing
something from a house, that is typically a burglary rather than a robbery. And I’ve got a whole separate
video on burglaries. Robbery is at its core, taking something from someone. So it’s not just taking
something that belongs to someone else, but it’s doing that from a person who actually has possession
of that thing.
The 2 Components of Robbery
Now, picking someone’s pocket isn’t really a robbery. Robbery is composed of sort of two essential
#1 – The first is it’s a theft that’s just simply taking something that doesn’t belong to you. So if you take
something that doesn’t belong to you, that is a theft and that is an element of robbery.
#2 – The other element is that there is an assault. And if you’ve seen my video on assaults, you know
that there are a couple of different ways that assaults can happen. That assault can be either use of non-consensual force against someone or the threat of force against someone.
Robbery is taking something that doesn’t belong to you using the using force or the threat of force. At its
core, that’s what a robbery is. And if you have done that, if you’re charged with a simple crime of
robbery, you could be convicted of a felony and could be facing up to 15 years in prison.
Now, that’s not the only kind of robbery. There’s also what you’ve probably heard of as armed robbery.
An armed robbery is exactly the same thing as a robbery. A robbery is committed. But there’s an
additional element now, and that element is that you have used a deadly weapon.
And what a deadly weapon can vary case by case. It’s a fact-based question. So if it’s used in a way that
makes a deadly weapon, it’s a deadly weapon. Obviously some things are always deadly weapons.
Firearms, knives, other clear weapons, pretty much always deadly weapons.
But even something that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be a deadly weapon could be a deadly
weapon. In addition, you don’t actually have to have a deadly weapon. If you represent in writing that
you have a deadly weapon, then that can also be armed robbery.
So the classic example here is a bank robbery where someone goes up to the bank teller and gives them
a note and says, I’ve got a gun, give me all your money. That is an armed robbery under the statute. An
armed robbery is again, a felony, and it carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Now robbery is at its core, pretty simple. There’s not a lot of nuance here. It’s basically the questions
- Did you take something?
- Did you have permission to take that thing?
- Did you use a threat or did you use actual force?
That’s it. So at its core it’s fairly simple. There are some things to take into account though. If you’re
charged with robbery, robbery tends to be one of those crimes that you don’t want to be convicted of.
There are some things, some crimes, where obviously no one wants a criminal conviction, but some
crimes, if you have a conviction for it, it’s not necessarily going to ruin your life. Robbery convictions can.
And that’s because not only is it a felony, which is obviously the more serious crime, it’s not just a
misdemeanor, it’s not a minor crime, it’s a felony, but it is categorized as a crime of violence. And being
convicted of a crime of violence can trigger a whole lot of issues.
In Maryland’s criminal justice system, you do not want to be convicted of a crime of violence. If you’re
convicted of subsequent crimes of violence you start facing mandatory minimum penalties including if
you’re convicted of a fourth crime of violence. You could be looking at life in prison without parole, even
if the original charge doesn’t carry that. But more than that, it can affect your rights, like your rights to
bear firearms and other rights as well.
So you don’t want to have a robbery conviction. Robberies are verity fact based. Like I said, the law on
robberies is pretty simple. So typically what it comes down to is —
- Can the state prove it was you that did it?
- Can the state prove that there was a crime at all?
- Can the state prove that there was a weapon involved?
If you’re charged with armed robbery, all of those things are what goes into defending a robbery charge.
Robberies are serious and a conviction can have serious consequences for your life. So if you’ve been
charged with the robbery, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as you can.
Here at Paré and Associates we have been helping clients in Germantown, Clarksburg, and throughout
Montgomery County for more than 30 years. So if you’ve been charged with robbery, give us a call for a
free, no-obligation consultation.