Interviewer: What kind of robberies are there? Are you always considered to be armed? What is the typical robbery?
Stuart: Robberies have different degrees, just like burglaries do. The lowest degree of robbery would be a “D” felony, which is the taking of property from somebody by pushing him. In essence, there is really no weapon; no major force in that situation.
There may be a purse-snatching, where you grab it. Sometimes you might threaten the person and say, “Give me that or I am going to hurt you.” Again, the person does not see a weapon or anything like that.
Then robberies go up to the form of putting a gun in somebody’s face and getting their property by sheer intimidation, fear.
That would be a violent robbery, which is a much more serious crime. Again, as we talked about in burglaries, a lot of times the things with robberies also are the possibility of what could happen.
If I go and steal something from you, yes it is possible that I could push you down, you could bang your head and you could really get hurt badly. That is sort of far-fetched or specious. It is not very foreseeable.
If I have a gun and bring it there, it is very foreseeable that I am going to use that gun or that it is going to go off. I will not even say by mistake, but by instinct or reflex or something. Just by having the gun itself, it elevates it to a higher degree.
Interviewer: Are guns in a special class, or is it any weapon such as a bat?
Stuart: Guns are actually in a special class with other types of explosives, firearms and things like that. You could also, as I said, do the same thing with brandishing a knife.
In essence, what they are looking at is anything that could be called a deadly weapon. That is the terminology they use. A deadly weapon, in essence, could be almost anything.
Interviewer: You mean a knife, a gun, a broken bottle or a piece of glass.
Stuart: That is correct.
Interviewer: For a regular robbery versus a violent robbery, what are the potential penalties?
Stuart: Again, it is very similar to burglary. A regular robbery, if you steal property from another person just using force, is a “D” felony just like it is for a burglary from a non-dwelling. That is punishable by anywhere, again, from probation up to seven years.
Robbery with a gun is actually a “B” violent felony, where the minimum is five years. Again, the judge cannot give you less than that if you have been convicted of a “B” robbery. The maximum is 25 years.
There is a large difference between them. There is also a large difference between the minimum and the maximum.
Interviewer: Does it make a difference what you take from the person, such as the dollar amount?
Stuart: With regards to robbery, no it does not make a difference. You can actually steal 10 cents or you can steal $1,000, but the difference would be an added charge. We talked about added charges before. If you steal a large amount of money it could be grand larceny, which is more serious than a petit larceny.
Again, given the nature of the charges, the robbery or the violent robbery is your most serious crime; more so than any of the larceny charges that would kind of string along with it.