Are you trying to answer the question, “Is robbery a felony?” In most situations it is. However, there are a number of things many people might be surprised to learn about what defines robbery.
Many people will immediately think about the television shows they watch or movies depicting violent criminals with assault rifles, masks, high explosives, and more running into a bank, holding people against their will, and stealing everything out of the bank’s vault. While that makes for good drama, and certainly classifies is robbery, there are many different types of robbery a person might not realize constitute a felony.
If you were in college, walking home from a bar or a friend’s house late at night, and another student was approaching you between the shadows of two street lamps, shoved you and knocked you down, stealing your wallet or purse, and then ran away, that may not seem like a major crime, but it is classified as felony robbery.
If somebody shoved you and stole your cell phone while you were talking to somebody on it and ran away, that is also considered robbery, and is classified as a felony.
Do you want to know what else could be considered felony robbery?
How about a 10th grader who approaches another student, threatens him with physical violence if he doesn’t hand over a homework assignment, money, or something else that belongs to him? Yes, that would be considered felony robbery.
Of course, there are different stipulations that can affect how a person is charged when they are a minor, under 18 years of age.
So what defines robbery as a felony?
There is a significant difference between robbery and stealing, or theft. The most significant difference is that somebody who is going to be charged with robbery will have taken something from their victim when that individual is present. Stealing money from somebody who is walking down the street is considered robbery. Breaking into a person’s home when they are out of town is considered theft, or stealing. That may also be considered burglary.
Another factor that defines robbery is the use of force or violence. The victim would have to be present in order to become a victim of violence. A home invasion in which one or more individuals break into a house while the owner and his or her family is home, holds them against their will, and steals from them would be considered robbery.
As long as the victim is present during the commission of the crime, that is the most significant difference between robbery and theft. It doesn’t matter whether the victim was in possession of the items that were stolen or simply present, such as being asleep at home.
So what happens if a person locks another individual out of their house when they go to take the garbage out in order to steal from them? Even if the criminal did not physically place hands on the victim, but the victim was at home at the time of that crime, it can be charged as felony robbery.
The threat of force.
Often, just the mere suggestion of using force in order to take something that doesn’t belong to them can get somebody charged with felony robbery. If a person places their hand in a coat pocket, states that they have a gun and will use it unless the other person (the victim) gives them what they want (even if they don’t have a gun), that can be considered robbery as opposed to theft.
Also, coercing the victim into giving up something that belongs to them can be classified as robbery. For example, a person who approaches another individual on the street, tells them that they have a loved one, a pet, or something else that belongs to them and must take out $400 from their bank in order to get it back is considered coercing the victim.
Different categories of robbery.
In most states, there are three different classifications or categories that robbery is divided into. There is a first degree, second degree, and aggravated or simple robbery.
The most serious types of robbery charges will usually be the result of crimes that are committed inside a person’s home, such as a home invasion. Carjackings, in which a person is forcibly taken out of their vehicle to steal a car can be considered the more serious first degree form of felony robbery.
Robbery crimes that are committed against certain types of individuals or at certain locations, such as cabdrivers or people using an ATM are often classified as the most serious type of robbery.
Also, using deadly weapons will usually result in felony robbery charges against the perpetrator.
When somebody is facing a robbery charge, it is a felony and is a very serious offense (State of Tennessee). Since robbery is a felony, it can affect the individual not just at sentencing if they are found or plead guilty, but it can stay on their permanent record for life.