What is it? Robbery, common referred to as Theft by Force, is when property is taken from a person under the threat or use of force. Robbery in Texas is a Felony, divided into two subclasses: Robbery and Aggravated Robbery.
What makes it illegal? The Texas Criminal Penal Code Sec. 29.02. Robbery indicates that a person commits an offense if with intent to obtain or maintain control of the property, he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.
Robbery -- as opposed to a typical theft, is committed when a person steals from an individual and intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death (or causes injury or death).
What are the Punishments? For individuals arrested for Robbery the penalty is dependent on the amount of force used and the presence of any weapons, along with other victim-specific factors. For Robbery, an offense is a felony of the second degree. An offense under Aggravated Robbery is a felony of the first degree.
Common Criminal Cases Involving Theft Arrests: The most common Robbery cases and Robbery arrests involve taking items such as computers, phones and other electronics from a person while on the street or in a park. Robbery can also include muggings, robbing at gunpoint, and carjacking. Often times, a purse will be snatched while on a bike or running, and then thrown after the contents are taken
A common trend has been to charge a robbery felony where slight force has been used in a minor misdemeanor shoplifting case. We have represented individuals who went to a department store intending to steal a small item, such as a video game, and after placing the item in their pocket, walked out of the store. Once outside, a security guard would grab them by the shoulder, not announcing themselves as security or loss prevention -- and often in plain clothes, and attempt to grab the individual. Unaware that the loss prevention agent works for the store, the person pulls away from the guard and runs. That slight 'pulling away' can be considered force as used in the robbery statute, and can be charged as a robbery felony, threatening years of jail time.
In such contexts, the fair charge should be a theft, and not robbery, and the Law Office of Robert Keates has successfully negotiated many such cases down from felony robbery to thefts, avoiding jail time and a felony on the individual's record.
The consequences of being charged with robbery are enormous. If you believe you have been erroneously charged with robbery instead of theft, or are seeking advice on a robbery case, please call us at 512-800-3741 for a free consultation.