Stealing and robbing seem to be pretty similar, and they are, but there are some key differences involved. In order to show you those differences we’re going to look at what robbing is and then what stealing (or larceny) is in language that’s simple and concise. Then you should easily be able to tell the difference between the two.
Okay. First, let’s get into the definition of robbery so we know what it is we’re working with here. Put plain and simple, robbery is forcible stealing. Now you forcibly steal property and commit robbery when you ise or threaten the use of force on someone else while trying to commit larceny, all for the purpose of preventing the taking of property or compelling the owner of the property or someone else to deliver the property or otherwise engage in some sort of conduct that helps in the commission of larceny.
Robbery in the third degree.
Good, we’ve gotten the definition out of the way. Now that we’ve done that, let’s look at the charge of robbery in the third degree. In order to be guilty of that, you’d have to forcibly steal property. This crime is a class D felony.
Robbery in the second degree.
Robbery in the second degree is similar to the third degree, but with the addition of being helped by someone who’s present, or if while stealing whatever you’re stealing you cause injury to someone who isn’t participating in the crime, or display what looks like some sort of firearm, or if the property is a motor vehicle. Robbery in the second degree is considered a class C felony.
Robbery in the first degree.
Now we have the most serious charge of robbery. This happens when you commit all of the above, and then in addition also are armed with a deadly weapon, or threaten the use of a dangerous instrument, or display what looks like a firearm. It’s important to note that it is in fact an affirmative defense that this firearm wasn’t a loaded weapon, and couldn’t fire a shot even if you wanted to. Nothing in this provision, however, can constitute a defense for any of the robbery charges, or really any other crime. This one is considered a class B felony.
Now that we’ve taken a detailed look at what robbery is, let’s look over what larceny (stealing) is so you can compare the two in your mind. Now a person steals property and commits larceny when they wrongfully take property from someone else with the intent to deprive them of said property. Larceny also includes the wrongful taking done by conduct known as common law larceny by any other means under the law, or also by acquiring lost property. Someone acquires lost property when they exercise control over the property of someone else that they know was lost or misplaced. You can also be guilty of this by committing the crime of issuing a bad check, or else by false promise.
Now as far as obtaining property by false promise goes, this applies when you obtain someone else’s property with the intent to defraud. In a prosecution for larceny that’s based on a false promise, the defendant’s actual intention or else belief that the promise wouldn’t be performed can’t be established from that fact alone. This finding can be based only on evidence that establishes facts of the case are consistent with guilty intent and completely inconsistent with innocent intent, and “excluding to a moral certainty” every hypothesis except the defendant’s intention or belief that the promise wouldn’t be performed. That, or else if it was obtained by extortion.
Now in order to obtain property by extortion, you’d have to compel or induce someone else to deliver property to yourself or someone else by instilling in them a fear that if the property isn’t delivered, someone will cause injury to someone in the future, cause damage to property, engage in some kind of crime, accuse someone of a crime, expose some kind of secret whether true or false, cause a strike or boycott, testify against someone else, use or abuse your position as a public servant and act outside of your official duties, or perform really any other act that’s been calculated to harm someone else whether by health or some other means.
So as you can see, while larceny and robbery are a bit similar, they’re not the same thing. It’s important to note these differences so you can be fully informed when it comes to the letter of the law. If you’re facing any sort of legal trouble, get in touch with us at Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC. It’ll be the best thing you do today.