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Distinguishing Between Robbery and Theft

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2019 | Theft Crimes


While the terms theft and robbery are often used interchangeably outside of the criminal justice field, these two offenses differ in many respects. If you have been charged with either of these crimes, then it’s important to understand these differences and what they mean in the event you are found guilty in court.

Explaining Theft

Theft is a very broad term that covers multiple criminal offenses including but not limited to:

  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Unlawfully stealing electricity or cable services
  • Embezzlement
  • Identity theft
  • Fraud

These string of crimes all have three common elements that define them under the blanket of theft. The first element is that the criminal took property belonging to someone else without permission. The second element is that the stolen property was removed from the other person’s possession and carried away. The criminal also must have the intention of permanently keeping the property. In many instances of theft, the victim is not present when their property or services are taken from them. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the theft, the crime may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. In most cases, the punishments will increase as the value of the item or items stolen increase. The degree of theft you are charged with may also depend on whether you are a first-time offender or not.

Defining Robbery

Robbery is defined as taking valuable property from another person without permission, but the crime must also involve either a threat of force or the use of force during the ordeal. Similar to cases of theft, robberies typically have three elements. The criminal takes valuables without consent and with the intent to keep them forever. The final element of robbery involves the use of force or intimidation to take the items. To meet this condition, the victim or victims must have been present during the incident. It’s important to understand that the criminal does not necessarily have to be armed. The simple use of intimidation and threats are enough to amount to a robbery charge. The penalties for robbery in New Jersey are severe. If facing a second-degree charge, then you may be subject to fines up to $150,000 and five to 10 years in jail. If you have used a deadly weapon, attempted to kill someone or inflicted injury during the commission of the robbery, then you could be sentences to 10 to 20 years in jail.

Contact an Experienced Voorhees Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Theft or Robbery Charges in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Were you arrested or charged with theft of robbery in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Garber Law have successfully represented clients charged with theft and robbery in Voorhees, Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, Camden and throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Call 866-556-2962 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at The Greens of Laurel Oak, 1200 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 104, Voorhees, NJ, as well as offices located in the Aramark Building, 1101 Market Street, Suite 2820, Philadelphia, PA.