Our Philadelphia Robbery Defense Attorneys Can Help
Whether the crime being alleged is a bank robbery, a home invasion, a mugging, or an act of trespassing, the bottom line for defendants is the same: costly fines, long prison sentences, and the creation of a criminal record that could interfere with important parts of your daily life if convicted. If you or someone you love has been charged with robbery in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, it is crucial to get experienced legal help immediately, before it is too late to take action.
At the law offices of Law Office of Lloyd Long, our knowledgeable Philadelphia theft crime defense lawyers have more than 40 years of combined experience fighting robbery and burglary charges on behalf of adults and juveniles in the Philadelphia area. Our accomplished legal team takes a strategic approach to each case we work on and is prepared to handle state or federal charges.
Robbery vs. Burglary: What’s the Difference?
Many people believe the words “robbery” and “burglary” mean the same thing. While it’s fine to use these terms interchangeably in everyday conversation, they have different meanings under the law – and carry different penalties – when a person is being criminally charged. If your loved one has been arrested, or if you have been charged with one of these offenses, it’s important to understand exactly what you are being accused of committing.
Burglary in Pennsylvania specifically involves entering a building (or other type of property) with intent to commit a crime. For this reason, burglary is sometimes referred to as breaking and entering, or housebreaking. It is a defense to burglary charges that the building was abandoned, although other criminal charges related to the trespass may still be possible.
On a related note, it’s important to point out that burglary is not the same as criminal trespass. Criminal trespass is charged when a person unlawfully enters, lingers in, or breaks into a building without “intent to commit a crime therein,” which is a vital component of burglary charges.
In Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth may bring robbery charges against a defendant who is accused of one of the following while the defendant is committing a theft:
- Causes or threatens “bodily injury” to another person. Bodily injury has a very broad definition, because it includes any “impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.”
- Causes “serious bodily injury” to another person. Serious bodily injury specifically involves causing either:
- High risk of death.
- “Serious, permanent disfigurement.”
- Long-term loss of/damage to an organ, body part, or bodily function.
- Threatens another person with serious bodily injury.
- Commits or tries to commit any second or first degree felony, which doesn’t necessarily have to involve stealing (e.g. rape, aggravated assault).
- Physically takes away another person’s property by means of force, “however slight.”
In short, robbery can be summarized as theft plus an additional felony or some element of violence, force, or injury. Theft which does not involve any of these elements is not categorized as robbery.
Because robbery often involves using a deadly weapon (armed robbery) and/or injuring another person, it is possible that the defendant could also be charged with simple assault, aggravated assault, and/or weapons crimes. Furthermore, if the defendant robs federal property – for instance, robbing a federal bank – he or she could also be charged with federal crimes, which are typically subject to far harsher penalties than state crimes.
Criminal Penalties for Committing Robbery in PA
Burglary, criminal trespass, and robbery collectively cover a wide range of offense classifications, spanning from low-level misdemeanors to extremely serious felonies.
That being said, even a comparatively “minor” misdemeanor has the potential to result in a devastating sentence and fine, to say nothing of the miscellaneous consequences which can result from having a criminal record. Even though numerous state and federal laws have been enacted to prevent lending, housing, and employment discrimination against individuals with criminal convictions, the unfortunate reality is that people with criminal records often face major hurdles when it comes to being approved for loans, finding housing, and getting hired for jobs.
Don’t wait to start exploring your legal options: call the law offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 right away to set up a private consultation.