Under Pennsylvania law, the definition of Robbery may be found at 18 PACS 3701.  In its most basic form, Robbery is theft with bodily injury or while committing another crime.  A lot of people often confuse Robbery and theft, and that confusion is understandable.  the crime of Robbery requires the commission, or attempted commission, of a theft.  But, you can commit a theft without committing a Robbery.  Let’s look at the definition of Robbery to better understand the difference.

What Is The Definition of Robbery?

A person is guilty of Robbery if the Prosecution is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that while committing a theft, that person:

  1. inflicts serious bodily injury upon another;
  2. threatens another with or intentionally puts him in fear of immediate serious bodily harm;
  3. commits or threatens immediately to commit any felony of the first or second degree;
  4. inflicts bodily injury upon another or threatens another with, or intentionally puts him in fear of, immediate bodily injury; OR
  5. physically takes or removes property from the person of another by force, however slight.

So, the primary difference between Robbery and theft is that Robbery IS theft with a bodily injury, a threat of bodily injury, a felony, or by force.

What Does It Mean To Be “Committing a Theft?”

Along with providing the definition of Robbery, the statute for Robbery also defines what it means to be “Committing a theft.”  In other words, do you have to be on your way to taking something in order to be “Committing a Theft?”  Do you have to be literally taking the object?  Or, what if you are fleeing the scene at the time that you inflict bodily injury?  Are you still committing a Robbery?  Yes, according to the statute, “Committing a theft” means any of the five (5) elements explained above happens any time during the act of theft, including while you are in flight after the commission of the crime.

Do I have to Be Guilty of Theft To Be Guilty of Robbery?

No, if the Prosecution is able to prove that you were ATTEMPTING to commit a theft, than you may be found guilty of Robbery.

What are the Defenses For A Charge of Robbery?

There would be two primary defenses to Robbery.  First involves the requirement of theft.  There are elements to the crime of theft, and attempted theft, that the Prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt before it can find you guilty of Robbery.  Second, if the Prosecution is able to prove theft, or attempted theft, then the second defense is to show a jury that you did not commit one or more of the elements listed above.

What Happens If You Are Convicted Of Robbery?

If you are found guilty of Robbery, you will be found guilty of a felony.  If you are found guilty of causing someone serious bodily injury, threatening another with serious bodily injury, or committing a theft while committing another felony, then you are guilty of a Robbery felony in the first degree.  If you are found guilty of committing a Robbery with immediate bodily injury (not serious bodily injury), then you are guilty of a felony in the second degree.  Finally, Robbery through force is a felony in the third degree.

What Should You Do Now?

It is always important to get an attorney involved in your case as soon as possible after you are have been charged or arrested.  With the crime of Robbery, it is also important to find an attorney who is experienced with all areas of criminal defense.  The defense of Robbery requires me, as your attorney, to defend you against two crimes.  First, I have to defend against the crime of theft.  Next, I have to defense against the crime of Robbery.  This makes the crime and defense of Robbery very fact specific.  Give me a call at 412-209-0657.