Robbery is the theft of another person’s property and/or money through the use of physical force. There are different types of robbery, depending on whether a weapon was used, whether someone involved received direct or indirect injury, etc. But whereas burglary is typically defined as the breaking and entering into another person’s home or building without that person’s consent, most often an injury is committed in a robbery.
As with nearly any case of criminal law, there are certain elements that all make up the definition of a true robbery. While the definitions of a robbery do vary by state, the most common elements are the intent to steal the personal property and/or money of another person, performing this theft in the presence of that person and against their consent, and performing this robbery through the use of physical force. This last element is especially important as robbery almost always involves the use of violence, or at least the threat of it. However, if the violence is committed by the robbery unintentionally or during their attempted escape, then they could be charged with resisting arrest and not robbery.
It also doesn’t matter whether the use of force was substantial or light. It all depends on who was involved and the circumstances of the situation at hand. Even just a small amount of violence or a low level of violent intimidation is all that is necessary to officially class an event as a robbery. Therefore, certain forms of violence or violent intimidation could include forcefully taking something off of a person, such as a purse, punching or kicking the person, or displaying a gun or a knife and threatening to use it, or actually using it.
There are also different degrees of robbery, all depending on how serious the crime was. If the robber uses a dangerous weapon with the intention or attempts to kill or injure someone during the robbery, then that would count as a first degree robbery. Aggravated robbery may or may not require the use of a weapon to be involved, depending on the state.
As the different definitions and variations of a robbery vary by state, it is known as a state crime for the most part, but some kinds of robberies are classified as federal robberies, such as the robbery of a bank or credit union building.