Theft Vs. Robbery
All theft is certainly not the same in the eyes of the law, and a substantial difference exists between robbery and theft. Maryland Code Criminal Law Title 7 defines theft as unauthorized control over property where the individual intends to deprive the owner of property through deception, concealing the property or possessing it. The severity of the theft depends on the stolen property’s value.
When property value is less than $100, authorities charge the crime as a misdemeanor, which carries up to 90 days in jail. For stolen property worth more than $100 and up to $1000, jail time is 18 months. However, two or more prior convictions for this same crime can lead to a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, along with returning the property or its value to the owner. Felony charges begin when the property is valued between $1,000 and $10,000 and can lead to 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine and returning the property or its value to the owner. For property valued between $10,000 and $100,000, the punishment escalates to 15 years in prison, a $15,000 fine plus return of property or its value to the owner. The most severe penalties are for stolen property exceeding $100,000: 25 years in prison, $25,000 fine and return of property or its value to the owner.
Robbery involves force or the threat of force. Robbery is always a felony and carries up to 15 years in prison. Robbery with a dangerous weapon is more serious and its penalty is 20 years in prison. Carjacking is also a form of robbery when force or violence is used and conviction for carjacking can lead to 30 years in prison.
Obviously, robbery is a more serious charge than most theft charges. Having your criminal defense attorney argue that you did not use force or a threat of force can be crucial in determining whether you face theft or robbery charges.