Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Distinguishing the Crime of Robbery from Theft

Various movie and television scenes produce an impression that professional robbers have a thrilling, lavish life. Unfortunately, being charged with this criminal offense in reality is something no one ever really aspires to experience.

The term robbery is usually confined to the concept of stealing money from people at gunpoint, but under most state laws, an assault weapon is not really needed to build a robbery case. A middle school student who pushes a schoolmate to steal his or her lunch money has already committed robbery. Meanwhile, a full-grown adult who stole another’s car in a parking lot without the owner may only be charged with theft.

Elements of Robbery

A misdemeanor is considered a robbery when two elements are present, namely, the presence of the victim and the use of force or violence. The first element basically means that the person who owns or controls the property has to be nearby or at the scene during the event of stealing. Even if the victim is unaware, as long as physical presence is established, it can already be evident of the crime.

Meanwhile, the second element highlights the main distinction of robbery from theft, which is the use of force or violence. In Florida, the forms of violence upheld as an element of robbery are threat, intimidation, and physical force. This force has to be proven to have occurred either before, during or after the property has been taken away.

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