When people face robbery charges, they may not know how this offense is different from theft. However, law enforcement officials usually view robbery and theft differently. It is important for people to know the difference between these charges so they understand their particular situation.
Many people may think that theft and robbery mean the same thing. FindLaw says that theft can have an expansive definition. Theft typically means that someone took some type of property from another person without the intent to give it back. Law enforcement officials usually consider the value of an item when they charge someone with theft. A person who took an item worth less than $500 might face petty theft charges, for example. Someone might face grand theft charges if he or she took something worth more than $1,000. Theft can cover many situations ranging from shoplifting to stealing a car.
When people face robbery charges, they may wonder why law enforcement officials charged them with robbery and not theft. According to FindLaw, people who commit robbery take something from another person. To many people, this may sound exactly like theft. However, there is an important difference between these offenses. When people commit robbery, there is usually a threat of violence. Robbery usually takes place when someone threatens to hurt someone else if the person does not hand over a specific object.
Some people may wonder how members of law enforcement can charge them with robbery if they did not use a weapon. However, it is important to understand that force and physical intimidation can also turn theft into robbery. If people had to use some force to take a bag from another person, then they may face robbery charges, not theft charges. They may also face robbery charges if they physically intimidated someone during the incident.