Robbery charges are a serious matter in Pennsylvania. They can lead to as many as 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines, depending on the circumstances. There are grades of robbery under the law in this state, but they all carry one theme: the theft of property involving force or threats.
If you are facing robbery charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced robbery defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
Robbery: Theft Plus Force in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, robbery is a step up from theft. Theft is defined as unlawfully taking, withholding, moving or controlling another person’s property. The defendant must have some degree of culpability: This varies depending on the type of theft, but it generally means the defendant must have stolen the property in order to benefit herself or deprive the proper owner. Penalties for theft vary widely depending on the circumstances and the value of the property stolen. Theft of services worth less than $50, for example, is treated as a summary offense, similar to a serious traffic violation, while the receipt of a stolen gun by someone who sells stolen property is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. Add force or similar tactics and these crimes become robbery.
Robbery: Injury, Force, Threat, Felony in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, robbery is the commission of a theft that causes or threatens injury, involves or threatens the use of force, or involves a separate first- or second-degree felony. Robbery also includes theft from a financial institution by making a demand for money of an employee. In other words, passing a note to a bank teller demanding money is automatically robbery rather than simple theft, even if no weapon is used. Robbery laws apply whether the force or threat of force occurs during a theft, during an attempted theft, or during flight from a theft. Carjacking is also specially defined in Pennsylvania law as a kind of robbery.
Penalties for Robbery in Pennsylvania
Robbery can carry stiff penalties in Pennsylvania, but they vary significantly depending on the facts of each case. A theft that inflicts or threatens to inflict serious bodily injury is a first-degree felony and can be punished by up to 20 years in prison. Carjacking — the theft of a car in the presence of its owner or lawful user — is also a first-degree felony, but is considered more serious. It is subject to the same 20-year limit, but defendants convicted of carjacking face an automatic step up under Pennsylvania’s sentencing guidelines. Thefts that inflict or threaten minor injury and thefts involving demands for money in financial institutions are treated as second-degree felonies, punishable by as many as 10 years in prison. Taking property by force is a felony of the third degree for which a defendant may face up to seven years in prison.
Robbery: Defenses in Pennsylvania
There are a number of possible defenses to a robbery charge. There may be evidence disputing the prosecution’s claim that a theft occurred. The lack of injuries or any fear on the part of the alleged victims may mitigate a robbery charge to theft. There may have been entrapment. Maybe the defendant acted under duress or was intoxicated. These are not all perfect defenses, but if successful they can at least lower the charges and subsequent penalties.
If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with robbery, call Brian Manchester, an experienced robbery defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.