Robbery is a second degree felony under Texas criminal law regardless of the amount involved. As described on the website of Mark T. Lassiter, criminal penalties for theft depend on the value of the item stolen. Petty theft, for example, of an item or items valued at a total of less than $50 is a Class C misdemeanor, which has a maximum fine of 500% and no jail time involved if convicted.
While it is one type of theft, robbery is a much more serious offense than simple theft because of the element of violence. Under the Texas Penal Code, you can be charged with robbery if you are suspected of the following while committing theft:
- Intentional, reckless, or knowing infliction of bodily injury to another person
- Intentional or knowing infliction of fear of bodily injury or death to another person
If convicted of robbery, you could be facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000 because it is a second degree felony. If you are convicted of aggravated robbery, which is theft with the
- use of a deadly weapon
- infliction of serious bodily injury to another, or
- threatening infliction of bodily harm to a disabled or elderly (over 65 years old) individual
then you could be in prison for up to 99 years and made to pay a fine of up to $10,000 because that is a first degree felony.
Robbery or aggravated robbery charges are very serious matters, and should be treated as such. Even if you believe you were wrongly charged because you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or that you did not have the requisite knowledge or intention to use violence, you will have to provide evidence of this to the jury. It is not a simple matter of explaining your side of the story.
If you are facing robbery or aggravated robbery charges, get a competent criminal defense lawyer to handle your case as soon as possible. There is a very real possibility that it could change your life forever.