What is the difference between theft and robbery? 16 Answers as of February 16, 2015

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, I encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. If you are charged with an offense and cannot afford to pay for your own defense, the court may appoint you an attorney payable at the public's expense. You have a right to counsel. Under Michigan law, generally speaking, most robbery charges have an assault and/or battery component which distinguishes them from theft offenses. Say, hypothetically, a person fights a loss-prevention officer or cop, without a weapon, while they try to escape after shop-lifting a few small items from a store. They will probably face much more serious charges than someone who does not fight anyone. The original act, i.e., shoplifting a few small items, would have been either a retail-fraud third degree or retail fraud second degree, two theft offenses and misdemeanors, if the alleged defendant did not assault anyone. However, if they allegedly assault and/or batter someone before, during, or after the alleged theft, this combination of theft and assault and/or battery may escalate the charges to unarmed robbery, a felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. MCL 750.88 contains the language for the unarmed robbery charge, and it notes "Any person, not being armed with a dangerous weapon, who shall assault another with force and violence, and with intent to rob and steal, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 15 years." They key here is the assault and/or battery component. In contrast, the general larceny statute, MCL 750.356 (1), notes "A person who commits larceny by stealing any of the following property of another person is guilty of a crime as provided in this section:" Theft offenses do not usually contain this assault/battery element. In other words, robbery charges are usually more serious and contain elements of a assault and/or battery in comparison to theft offenses.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/16/2015
Law Office of Bernell Daniel Weeks | Bernell Daniel Weeks
Common law robbery is the taking of the personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive that person it with the use of force. The person would be guilty of a felony The definition of larceny is the same as robbery and does not include the use of force with the taking. A larceny can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 1/13/2015
ABC Utah Law
ABC Utah Law | Anders Christensen
Theft is taking something that doesn't belong to you. For example, stealing from a car in the middle of the night when no one is around. Or breaking into someone's home while they are on vacation. Robbery is taking something that doesn't belong to you from or in front of the person. For example, you mug a guy on the streets and take his wallet. Or the person sees you actually taking things from their home.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 1/13/2015
Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD
Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD | Mace Yampolsky
Robbery is the taking of personal property using force or fear. Theft is just taking the property.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/13/2015
Elhart & Horvath, P.C.
Elhart & Horvath, P.C. | Mattias Johnson
Theft is typically taking something something that is not your with an intent to make it your permanently, whereas robbery involves the use of force or violence in some manner.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/13/2015
    Law Office of Alexis Plunkett
    Law Office of Alexis Plunkett | Alexis Plunkett
    In Nevada, robbery is the taking of property from another with violence, force or the threat of injury. Theft includes none of those elements and can be something as simple as shoplifting a candy bar.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    Ksicinski
    Ksicinski | Paul Ksicinski
    A big difference is that robbery can only be a felony, meaning someone can be sent to prison for the offense. Theft can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on the value of the property taken. The critical distinction between a felony theft and robbery is that robbery requires the use of force or threat of force against a person who is resisting the taking of the property.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law | Mark A. Broughton
    Theft is the taking of any property belonging to another. It could be a car, money, anything of value. A robbery is theft of the person with the use of force. Theft requires no force or that the property be taken in the presence of the owner or any other person. Robbery does and is a much more serious offense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    The use of force or the threat of force in a robbery.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    Robbery involves forex when stealing. Theft is just stealing.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    Law Office of Russell A. Warren
    Law Office of Russell A. Warren | Russell A. Warren
    "Theft" is basically a "stealing" charge where another individual isn't present. Robbery is forcefully stealing from a person or business.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    John W. Lee, P.C.
    John W. Lee, P.C. | John W. Lee
    Robbery is when you take something by threat of force. Theft is simply taking something that does not belong to you. If you take a pair of tennis shoes while the owner is not around that could be theft. If you use a weapon to threaten a person to give you their wallet that could be robbery. If you break into a persons house and steal from them, that could be burglary. In many cases, theft could be a misdemeanor, while robbery is normally a felony. If you are charged with robbery you really should hire an experienced local attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    Team Green Lawyers, PLLC
    Team Green Lawyers, PLLC | Scott Brenneck
    Theft is the simple stealing of property. Robbery is forcibly stealing property. The force may be the use of actually force, or the threatened use of immediate force.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    Prior, Daniel & Wiltshire | Mo Wiltshire
    Robbery involves the use of force or threat of force while committing an act of theft.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Robbery is taken by force.(gun, threat etc.) You can commit theft without victim being present.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/12/2015
    Jefferson and Biggs | Matthew Jefferson
    Normally it's use of force. But you can look up the specific crimes and compare their elements.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/12/2015
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney