Two convenience stores. Two crimes.
At Quick Stop, a clerk is held at gunpoint and forced to hand over all cash from the register.
Meanwhile, at Shop and Go, a clerk hears a menacing voice from behind say, “Put the cash in the bag, or else…”
Both perps get away with the cash, but when caught, face two different robbery charges.The penalties associated with the crimes will likely change the course of their lives.
If you’ve been charged with robbery, speak with a South Carolina criminal lawyer as soon as possible. In the meantime, learn everything you can about the charge you’re up against. Here are answers to commonly asked questions we receive about robbery charges. We will also look into the difference between the crimes committed by the convenience store robbers.
1. What is the definition of robbery?
Taking items by force and without payment or permission from their owner is called robbery.
In South Carolina, there are two different types of robbery. Basic robbery is referred to as strong arm robbery, meaning that someone uses force—although not a weapon—to take something from the victim.
For example? The perp in the opening scenario who robbed the clerk using verbal force.
Armed robbery or robbery while armed with a deadly weapon is considered a more serious crime in South Carolina and involves the use of a deadly weapon as the perpetrator takes something from the victim.
The example above of the perp with the gun in the convenience store scenario would be charged with armed robbery.
2. What is a “deadly weapon” in an armed robbery?
Any object capable of inflicting death or great bodily injury on a victim is considered a deadly weapon. The SC state statute specifically identifies the following as deadly weapons:
- Metal knuckles
3. Is robbery a felony or misdemeanor?
Robbery is always a felony—no matter the circumstances. It is never considered a misdemeanor crime.
4. What is the sentence for a robbery conviction?
The sentence for a robbery conviction depends on the type of robbery committed: strong arm or armed robbery.
|Strong arm robbery||Felony||Up to 15 years|
|Armed robbery||Felony||From 10 to 30 years. Eligible for parole after 7 years.|
In the case of armed robbery, a person can also be prosecuted for a weapons charge, which could lead to a second conviction and even more time behind bars.
|Possession of a deadly weapon during a robbery||Felony||Up to 20 years|
5. What’s aggravated robbery?
Aggravated robbery doesn’t exist in South Carolina. Armed robbery is the most serious robbery charge on the books.
6. Is robbery a property crime?
Yes, robbery is classified as a property crime because the object or objects taken in a robbery are the property of a person or business.
7. Is robbery a specific intent crime?
Yes, robbery is a specific intent crime, and a prosecutor must prove that the perpetrator committed the crime on purpose, with the specific intention to do so.
8. Is robbery a violent crime?
Not all robberies are violent crimes. However, armed robbery and attempted armed robbery are violent crimes. The classification of a crime as violent or nonviolent is relevant at sentencing when a judge decides how harsh a punishment the convict will receive.
9. What is robbery at gunpoint?
Robbery at gunpoint is considered armed robbery in South Carolina.
10. What is the difference: robbery vs. burglary?
Robbery is taking by force, either physical, verbal or through the use of a weapon.
Burglary is breaking and entering into a building or residence with the intention of committing a crime inside. The person committing burglary doesn’t necessarily have to take anything at all to be convicted of burglary.
If an individual breaks into a home or building and then steals something from a person inside by force, then burglary and robbery charges can go hand in hand.
11. What is the difference: robbery vs. theft?
Robbery involves taking by force. Theft, on the other hand, means taking something with no force.
For example, if a woman is walking down the street and someone pushes her down, steals her purse, and runs away they will likely be charged with robbery. If that same woman is the victim of a pickpocket on the street and doesn’t even know it happened until later, the defendant will likely be charged with theft (called larceny in SC).
12. Can armed or strong armed robbery charges be dropped?
Yes, all types of robbery charges can be dropped depending on the specifics of a situation.
For instance, police sometimes make mistakes during an arrest or investigation. Even the prosecution could get the details wrong. Mistakes can lead to dropped or reduced charges. That’s why talking with a lawyer—who knows what to look for in a robbery case—is key.
Don’t rob yourself of a bright future. Talk to an attorney today.
If you’ve been charged with robbery or armed robbery, a conviction could lead to decades behind bars, a rift in your relationships and the loss of your civil rights.
Discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Let an attorney build a strong case for your defense… and your future.
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