When does a theft jump to being robbery?

When an individual is accused of stealing from someone, many things can have a very big impact on his or her situation. This includes whether the allegations are such that they could lead to robbery charges, rather than just standard theft charges.

When does theft rise to the level of being robbery in Georgia? Under state law, it generally does if the theft was directly off of someone's person (or that person's immediate presence) and involved one of three things: a sudden snatching, force or threatening conduct or statements.

Whether the theft allegations a person is facing could trigger robbery charges is a big deal, given the serious penalties that can be given for such an offense. Generally, the maximum prison sentence for robbery is 20 years.

When a person is facing robbery charges, just how severe his or her situation is depends on a range of factors. This includes the specifics of what he or she is accused of having done. For example, there are certain things that can increase the minimum prison sentence that can be given for a conviction on robbery charges.

Generally, the minimum is one year. Some examples of exceptions are:

  • When the robbery was committed against someone 65 or older - This raises the minimum to five years.
  • When the robbery involved the use of an offensive weapon (real or fake) - This is a special type of offense, armed robbery, which comes with a 10-year minimum sentence (this offense also can carry a heftier maximum sentence).
  • Armed robbery involving the taking of drugs from a pharmacy and the intentional injury of another - This type of armed robbery comes with an even higher minimum, 15 years.

This discussion underscores how much the specifics of the allegations that have been leveled matter when people are accused of stealing.

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