Most people think the terms “robbery” and “theft” are interchangeable. However, the truth is that these are two completely separate crimes in the state of California. These crimes differ greatly under California Penal Code and they each carry separate punishment. So what’s the difference between robbery and theft?
To best illustrate the differences between these two crimes, imagine a woman waiting at a bus stop with her purse. If you were to take her purse without her knowledge, that would be considered theft. But if she were to notice and grab her purse, causing you to forcefully take it from her hands, it then becomes a robbery.
What is Robbery?
Similar to theft, robbery is the taking of another person’s property. Where it differs is how the property is taken. Robbery is when you take another person’s property by use of force or intimidation.
Robbery is a much more serious crime in the eyes of California law. While theft crimes can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors, robbery is always considered a felony. This means the penalties you face if you are convicted of this crime are very severe. So how exactly do the punishments for these separate crimes compare?
Punishment for Theft vs Robbery
The consequences you face for a conviction of theft or robbery will depend upon the circumstances of your case. In the case of robbery, there are different ways that you could be charged. The worst kind of robbery charge is first-degree robbery, which could be charged if you robbed someone while in their home or while they were withdrawing money from an ATM. A conviction of first-degree robbery carries a prison sentence of up to nine years.
Additionally, a robbery conviction counts as a “strike” on you criminal record for the purposes of California’s Three Strike laws. Under this law, if you are convicted of a qualifying crime and you have previously been convicted of other qualifying felonies, you could automatically face double the jail sentence or even a life sentence.
Theft, on the other hand, carries a much lighter sentence. However, if your theft involved goods valued at $950 or more, you could face felony charges and more severe consequences.
Call a Robbery Attorney at Wallin & Klarich Today
Robbery and theft are serious crimes that carry severe punishment. That is why you need to speak to an attorney immediately if you are accused of robbery or another theft crime. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing robbery charges for over 30 years. We know the valid defenses to this crime and we may be able to use them to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange County, San Diego, West Covina, Riverside, Victorville, Sherman Oaks and Torrance, our experienced robbery lawyers are available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our offices today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.