What Is the Difference Between Robbery and Theft? | Criminal Defense Lawyer, Wichita

Criminal Defense Lawyer Wichita

Within the realm of legal jurisdictions, the terms “robbery” and “theft” are frequently utilized interchangeably; however, they represent two distinct legal concepts, each possessing specific differences. While both transgressions involve the unlawful acquisition of another individual’s possessions, there are underlying elements that distinguish one offense from the other. Our criminal defense lawyers in Wichita, Kansas, at the McConnell Law Firm, have years of experience defending against robbery and theft charges and are detailing the difference between the two. Find out what you need to know below!

Robbery: Coercion in Action

Robbery is a criminal act defined by the use of force, intimidation, or fear in conjunction with the act of unlawfully taking something from somebody else. The presence of physical aggression or the threat of aggression separates robbery from the realm of theft. In instances of robbery, the perpetrator not only infringes upon another’s property but also uses coercive force or mental distress to get what they want.

Example Scenario: An individual wielding a weapon demands an unsuspecting pedestrian’s wallet. Because of the addition of the weapon, the act is considered a robbery.

*According to Kansas Statute, robbery is classified as a felony, with potential penalties including hefty fines, restitution to the victim, and prison time. These penalties are dependent upon the severity of the robbery and the defendant’s criminal history.

Theft: Unlawful Acquisition

Conversely, theft involves the acquisition of an individual’s possessions without the use of force or fear. Unlike robbery, there is no forcible or intimidatory component directed toward the victim when it comes to theft. Oftentimes, theft occurs by taking advantage of an opportunity, stealing unattended items or possessions without the victim even knowing.

Example Scenario: An individual notices a laptop left in an unlocked vehicle and takes it without making a scene. While this act distinctly qualifies as theft, the absence of force or threat of violence distinguishes it from a robbery.

*In Kansas, the penalties for theft can vary depending on the value of the stolen property and other circumstances. Many times, theft is categorized as a misdemeanor with penalties including fines and potential jail time; however, according to Kansas Statute, if the theft of property is valued at $1,000 or more, it will be elevated to a felony with more severe penalties.

Understanding the Key Differences

Aside from an individual’s preconceived notions about the interchangeability of these crimes, there are some distinct differences factoring into the classification of a robbery or a theft. Some of the most notable factors include the following:

  • Coercion or Threat: The fundamental difference between robbery and theft is the presence of coercion or threat. Robbery is accompanied by a confrontational quality, whereas theft remains devoid of this element.
  • Proximity of Victim: Robbery commonly transpires within immediate proximity to the victim, oftentimes resulting in physical injury or intimidation. In contrast, theft has the potential to materialize in the absence of the victim’s direct awareness or involvement.
  • Magnitude of Repercussions: Given its violent underpinnings, the legal repercussions and ensuing penalties for robbery tend to be more severe than those for theft. Often classified as a felony, robbery results in weightier sentences, while theft can be classified between a misdemeanor and a felony depending on different factors, such as property value and manner of acquiring the property.

Have You Been Accused?

If you have recently been charged in a criminal case, we encourage you to contact the McConnell Law Firm as soon as possible. While every case is different, and no conclusions should be drawn without first consulting a Wichita criminal defense lawyer about the specifics of your case, it is always in your best interest to have a skilled traffic attorney by your side from the beginning.

Request a Free Consultation

Do you or a loved one need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Wichita? We encourage you to contact the McConnell Law Firm at (316) 243-5903 for a free consultation.

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What Is the Difference Between Robbery and Theft? | Criminal Defense Lawyer, Wichita

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Jonathan W. McConnell and his team have become well-known for their expert knowledge and unmatched tenacity. They have been rated highly by the public and their peers on many prestigious legal directories and professional organizations.