Robbery and theft, it may seem like these two terms are synonymous, but legally the differences are quite large. Of the two, robbery is a much more serious offense and is always a felony. Theft, on the other hand, can be a summary offense, a misdemeanor, or a felony, depending on a few factors. We’ll discuss the specifics below. The most important thing to remember is that if you’re ever charged with any of these, secure legal counsel immediately. At Applebaum & Associates, criminal defense attorneys serving Greater Philadelphia we defend clients on these charges frequently, and we know how to fight for your rights.
The main distinction between theft and robbery is that theft involves taking someone else’s property without the use of force. This is important because robbery does involve the use of force, is charged as a violent offense, and punishment can be meted out for both the theft of property and the violence used in the commission of the crime. This is why robbery is a much more serious charge than theft. So how is theft punished?
If the value of the stolen property is less than $50, and you’re convicted, you’re subject to a summary offense. Technically this isn’t a criminal conviction, but it can still show up on criminal history checks. Generally, summary offenses are punished with a fine or, at most, 90 days in prison.
If the value of the stolen property is between $50 and $2,000, and you’re found guilty you’ll be convicted of a third-degree misdemeanor. This is a significantly more serious offense than a summary offense and will likely result in a minor amount of jail time.
If you’re convicted of stealing more than $2,000 in a property you’re subject to a felony. The severity of the punishment usually factors what was stolen and its value. If the stolen property is any type of vehicle you’re subject to a second-degree felony, but if you stole a firearm that’s an automatic first-degree felony. Prison time can be substantial, with seven years generally the maximum. If you’re facing any of these charges, call Applebaum & Associates, criminal defense attorneys serving Greater Philadelphia. We can provide the quality counsel you need.
As we said, robbery is theft with the use of force. This is a felony and a severe one. Whereas with theft of the value of the stolen property determines the punishment, with robbery it’s the severity of the force used. There are three degrees of robbery.
This is the lowest robbery offense. As long as there was no bodily harm or threat of bodily harm, any amount of force used in the commission of theft will get you a third-degree robbery charge. If convicted you could face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
You’ll be charged with second-degree robbery if the commission of the crime causes bodily harm or the threat of bodily harm. It doesn’t need to be severe or life-threatening. A conviction here can land you in prison for up to 10 years with a fine of up to $25,000.
This is the most serious felony robbery offense. If you cause someone serious bodily injury or threaten serious bodily injury, and you’re convicted, you could face up to 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. If you’re facing a robbery conviction, seeking legal counsel immediately is of tantamount importance. Call Applebaum & Associates, criminal defense attorneys serving Greater Philadelphia and let us represent you.
What’s the Difference Between Robbery and Theft?
Even if you are arrested and charged, there is still hope. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania, like Michael Applebaum, can help you aggressively combat charges, and many will provide a free initial consultation. Investing in your own legal representation may help you avoid thousands of dollars in fines, as well as possible felony convictions and state prison time, depending on the severity of the charge.