Understanding Robbery

Robbery is a serious offense punishable as a felony under Pennsylvania law. Whether the robbery is a third-degree felony, a second-degree felony, or a felony in the first degree depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. At the Law Office of Steven F. O’Meara, we understand how intimidating criminal law can be. Below, we break down the various ways robbery can be charged.

In Pennsylvania, a robbery occurs when someone is committing a theft and takes additional action, such as:

  • Inflicts serious bodily injury on another person;
  • Threatens another person with serious bodily injury;
  • Puts someone in fear of immediate serious bodily injury;
  • Immediately commits another felony in the first or second degree;
  • Threatens to immediately commit any felony in the first or second degree;
  • Inflicts bodily injury on another;
  • Threatens to inflict bodily injury on another; or
  • Intentionally puts someone in fear of immediate bodily injury;
  • Physically takes property from another by use of force, even slight force; or
  • Takes or removes money from a financial institution via oral or written demand, without permission to do so.

Anyone of these fact patterns could elevate a charge from theft to robbery.

Understanding the Extent of Conduct Which Could Increase the Charges

Understanding Robbery

It is easy to imagine how, if someone waves a gun in another’s face while saying, “Give me your wallet,” this amounts to a robbery charge, based on the reasonable fear the assailant might use the gun during the attack. However, robbery charges can arise in any theft case during a much broader period of time.  The statute states one can be guilty of robbery if one engages in any one of the above types of conduct “in the course of committing a theft.”  This includes conduct that occurs while committing the theft, conduct that occurs while attempting to commit a theft, conduct that occurs in flight after an attempted theft, and conduct that occurs in flight after a completed theft.

In other words, if someone demands another’s wallet and receives it, and only while leaving, utters, “Don’t call the cops or I will come back and shoot you,” this may rise to the level of a robbery charge, even though the actual taking had been completed.

Because there are many ways to commit a robbery, and because interpretation may result in lesser charges, it is essential to have a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side.

If You Have Been Charged With Robbery

If you have been charged with robbery, you already know you are facing very serious criminal consequences. At the Law Office of Steven F. O’Meara, we vigorously defend our clients, regardless of the charges. We start by evaluating the facts of the case to determine if the charges are based inadequate facts. We next examine how the evidence was obtained, searching for unconstitutional action which could result in the suppression of evidence or even the dismissal of charges. Where appropriate, we actively negotiate settlements our clients can live with.  Finally, we are always prepared to take a case to trial. With more than 25 years of experience, Steven O’Meara is ready to represent you in your case. Contact the Law Office of Steven O’Meara today at (610) 565-9200.