Violence is key to a robbery charge

When facing robbery charges, one thing you should know is that violence typically has to be involved in some fashion. Violence either needs to occur during the taking of another person’s property, or violence has to be threatened in order to take that property. This is often referred to as the threat of force or intimidation.

So, why is this a key difference? The sentence for a robbery charge can be far different than the sentence for a similar offense like simple theft.

For example, if you are at a person’s house and you see his or her wallet sitting on the table, and then you take that wallet when you leave, that’s theft, but it’s not robbery. The person does not even know that you took the wallet and there was never any violence involved.

However, if you go into the house and you strike the person or tell him or her that you’re going to use force unless you’re given the wallet, that’s a robbery. If a weapon is used — this doesn’t just mean a traditional weapon like a gun or a knife, but could include any object that can be used as a weapon, such as a hammer — then you could face charges for armed robbery.

As you go to court, it’s quite important to know how the charges work and what defense options you have in Maryland. Even if you’ve not claiming you didn’t commit an offense, you don’t want to be charged with robbery, instead of theft, when there was never any violence or the threat of violence at the time.

Source: FindLaw, “Robbery,” accessed July 01, 2016

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