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Consider two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Person A enters a gas station and threatens the attendant, insisting all cash be handed over immediately… or else. The attendant quickly follows the instructions, and Person A leaves the gas station with a bag full of cash.

Scenario 2: Person B stands closely behind someone who is withdrawing cash from an ATM. When the ATM user turns around, wad of cash in hand, Person B snatches it and bolts.

Who will be charged with a more serious crime in South Carolina? And who will receive a stiffer penalty if found guilty?

Trick question.

Both Person A and B have committed an equally serious crime: robbery. And all robberies in South Carolina are classified as felonies.

As for who would face a stiffer penalty, the answer is provided below, along with a breakdown of the types of robbery in South Carolina.

If you’re currently in Person A’s or Person B’s shoes, or even in a situation that’s similar, know that robbery charges are serious. Read on to learn why your first step in attacking any type of robbery charge should be partnering with a good attorney.

Robbery Charges in South Carolina

In South Carolina, there are two primary types of robbery charges: strong-arm robbery and armed robbery. Below we discuss each type of charge in more detail.

Strong-arm robbery

In some states, strong-arm robbery may be known as common-law robbery or highway robbery (not to be confused with a robbery that occurs on a highway). South Carolina uses the former term. Strong-arm robbery is defined as taking the property of another by force or intimidation.

The classification and penalty for a strong-arm robbery conviction are shown in the below table.

Charge
Classification
Jail Time
Strong-arm robbery Felony Up to 15 years

Armed robbery

A person who commits a robbery with a deadly weapon, or even pretends to have a deadly weapon (i.e., using fingers underneath a sweatshirt to represent a handgun) while committing a robbery, can be charged with armed robbery.

Deadly weapons include, but are not limited to:

  • Pistols
  • Dirks
  • Slingshots
  • Metal knuckles
  • Razors

Keep in mind that even saying you have a deadly weapon while committing a robbery could increase your charge from strong-arm robbery to armed robbery, which means you’ll face more severe penalties.

The classification and penalty for an armed robbery conviction are shown in the below table.

Charge
Classification
Jail Time
Armed robbery Felony 10 to 30 years*

*Not eligible for parole until after seven years.

Attempted armed robbery

Even if you didn’t “get away with the goods” if you tried to take something from someone by force or intimidation with a deadly weapon (or the appearance or threat of a deadly weapon), you can be charged with attempted armed robbery. The penalty for this charge is slightly less severe than if you’d actually succeeded in taking the property.

The classification and penalty for an attempted armed robbery conviction are shown in the below table.

Charge
Classification
Jail Time
Attempted armed robbery Felony Up to 20 years

In addition to strong-arm robbery and armed robbery, several other specific types of robbery charges exist, including robbery of a train, robbery of a bus/taxi driver or the like, robbery of a bank and robbery of a person who is using or has just used an automated bank device, as mentioned in our opening scenarios.

Robbery of a train

By stopping train

There are two types of train robbery—the first being by stopping a train. If you stop a locomotive or any car on a railroad in South Carolina or even if you cause the train’s course to be impeded as you forcibly take property or intimidate someone onboard the train to give you their property, you can be charged with train robbery by stopping train. If convicted, you’re looking at jail time.

Charge
Classification
Jail Time
Train robbery by stopping train Felony 2 to 20 years

After entering train

The second type of train robbery—train robbery after entering train—is the charge you would be facing if once on a train, you fire, show or even threaten to use a deadly weapon, thereby forcing someone to give you their property. If convicted, the penalty is as follows:

Charge
Classification
Jail Time
Train robbery Felony 10 to 20 years

Robbery of bus/taxi driver or the like

If you use a deadly weapon to threaten or force a bus or taxi driver to give up property while he or she is on the job, you can be charged with robbery of a driver of a motor vehicle for hire. A conviction of this charge comes with the same penalty as an armed robbery conviction, as shown in the below table.

Charge
Classification
Jail Time
Robbery of a driver of a motor vehicle for hire Felony 10 to 30 years*

*Not eligible for parole until after seven years

Robbery of a bank

Now back to our earlier scenarios to answer the question of who would face a stiffer penalty.

Person A would be charged with bank robbery, and so would any person who entered a bank with the intent to steal money or property by force, intimidation or threat. The penalty for robbing a bank is slightly more severe than robbing an individual at an ATM as shown in the below table.

Charge
Classification
Jail Time
Bank robbery Felony Up to 30 years

Robbery of person who is using or has just used an automated bank device

Person B would be charged with robbery of a person who is using an automated bank device. Taking cash or property by force, intimidation or threat from someone who is using or has just used an ATM is against the law, and if you (or Person B) are convicted, you could pay the following penalty, which is not too different from the penalty for robbing a bank.

Charge
Classification
Jail Time
Fine
Robbery of Person Who is Using or Has Just Used an Automated Bank Device Felony Up to 20 years* Up to $10,000*

*If convicted, penalty may include jail time, fine or both jail time and a fine.

Don’t let a robbery charge rob you of your future.

Whether you’ve taken a $20 bill from the guy ahead of you at the ATM or stopped a train dead in its tracks to rob the conductor, you’re looking at a possible felony conviction that could affect the rest of your life. You need an attorney on your side to help you attack the charge head on.

Give Kent Collins a call at 803-808-0905 for a free consultation or contact us through our online form. We’re here to help and look forward to hearing the details of your case.

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