Defendants may feel confused about the charges they face in a Pennsylvania criminal court. A person who believes that he or she committed theft may face charges of robbery instead. In reality, most people don’t know the legal distinction between robbery, theft and burglary. The accused might not understand how the use of weapons factors into the charges.
Robbery and weapons-related incidents
Distinctions exist under criminal law statutes regarding burglary, theft and robbery. Burglary involves breaking into someone’s home with the intent to commit a crime. Theft centers on taking someone’s property without the individual’s permission. Robbery reflects a serious crime that involves violence or the threat of violence to force someone to hand over personal belongings, such as jewelry or money.
Threatening someone with a knife to force the person to give up a watch is an example of armed robbery. A person charged with armed robbery would likely face felony charges and a potentially severe prison term.
A person may threaten violence but have no weapon, which could lead to strong-arm robbery charges and felony charges. A person does not need to have brandished a weapon to face a robbery conviction.
Dealing with robbery charges
Robbery charges may go hand-in-hand with illegal firearm possession or another weapons-related charge. The robbery arrest could lead to a drug possession charge if the defendant had controlled substances in his or her pockets. Ultimately, robbery charges may leave the accused in a difficult legal position.
However, are the charges valid? What if someone possessed a weapon but never used threats or brandished the weapon? Perhaps burglary and weapons possession charges apply without applying aggravated robbery charges. By looking at factors such as this, an attorney may assist a defendant with a criminal defense strategy. An attorney might discuss plea bargain agreements in some cases.