Someone may call what you did as stealing their property when you take something that is not yours. However, robbery and theft are the terms used when the law is involved. Although you would believe that robbery and theft have essentially the same meanings, they are actually two distinct offenses under California law. If you've been charged with one of these, you should hire a skilled California defense lawyer like Michael L. Fell of Law Office of Michael L. Fell.
Fear and force are used during robberies
Theft is defined by California law as taking something from someone else with the intention of keeping it away from the rightful owner permanently. Robbery, on the other hand, is the unlawful seizure of someone else's property by the threat or use of force.
As you can see, the use of force and/or fear distinguishes these two in a significant way. If you steal someone's jewelry by sneaking it into your pocket while they're not looking, it's likely to be deemed force because there was no use of force or terror. However, if you threaten someone with a weapon, that's considered robbery. Another significant distinction between these offenses is the penalties they carry.
The possible repercussions of stealing and robbing
Petty theft and grand theft are two distinct categories of theft crimes. The value of what was stolen is the only distinction between the two. If it was less than $950 in value, it may be charged as petty theft; but, if it was $950 in value or more, it would be considered grand theft.
Petty theft convictions carry penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in prison. Grand theft is a wobbler offense, meaning that the prosecution may elect to prosecute it as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The punishments could include up to 364 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines if it's filed as a misdemeanor. If it's classified as a crime, there may be a three-year minimum sentence and a $10,000 maximum punishment.
Robbery convictions are typically punished more severely. Additionally, they are split into two degrees. A person robbing an inhabited structure, such as a house or a hotel room, is considered a first degree robbery. Second degree robbery is one of the other forms of robbery. Second degree robbery carries a maximum term of five years in jail, whereas first degree robbery carries a maximum sentence of six years in state prison. Keep in mind that a robbery conviction weighs against you as well.
Your next phone call should be to a criminal defense lawyer if you've been accused of any theft or robbery-related offense. We at Law Office of Michael L. Fell are here to assist you in locating the ideal resolution to your current situation. Call us right away for a free consultation at (949) 585-9055.