Robbery is a common crime in North Carolina, and the charges against such a crime can vary based on the type of robbery committed. Here’s what you need to know about robbery and the law in North Carolina.
Theft vs. Robbery vs. Burglary
Theft and robbery are similar — they both involve the taking of someone else’s money or property. However, there are some differences between the two.
With theft, the victim need not be present. In the case of robbery, however, the perpetrator takes the property or money directly from a person. In other words, the victim must be present in order for the crime to be considered a robbery.
Another difference between theft and robbery is that robbery generally involves force or the threat of force.
Robbery is also sometimes confused with burglary. Burglary generally involves someone unlawfully entering a building in order to commit a crime. The use of force is also taken into consideration when determining whether a burglary or robbery takes place. Force is usually not required for someone to be charged with burglary, but it is for the charge of robbery.
Types of Robbery in North Carolina
While similar to other types of property crimes such as theft and burglary, robbery is considered more serious and carries harsher penalties. Why? Because robbery is committed in the presence of the victim and involves force (or the threat of force).
There are four different types of robbery in North Carolina, as outlined in Article 17 of the North Carolina General Statutes.
- Robbery with Firearms or Other Dangerous Weapons
- Train Robbery
- Common-Law Robbery
Let’s take a closer look at each of these types of robberies and their associated penalties.
Robbery with Firearms or Other Dangerous Weapons
This type of robbery involves unlawfully taking (or attempting to take) personal property from another person, a business, or home while there are people present and while using or threatening to use a firearm or other dangerous weapon. It’s also against the law to aid or abet someone who is committing this type of robbery.
Attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon is a lesser offense than robbery with a dangerous weapon, although if there is enough evidence to prove robbery with a dangerous weapon, a conviction of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon can be made.
In North Carolina, robbery with a dangerous weapon is a class D felony. A Class D felony conviction can result in a sentence of 38-160 months in prison, along with six points added to your criminal record.
Although certainly not as common as other types of robbery in the state, train robbery is also specified in Article 17. As with robbery with a dangerous weapon, it is a Class D felony.
This type of robbery involves opening, or attempting to open a safe or vault illegally through a variety of methods:
- The use of explosives, drills, or tools
- The use of a stolen combination, key, electronic device, or other implement used to open the device
- The use of a master key, duplicate key, or stethoscope, or another listening device
Anyone who removes a safe or vault from its premises with the intention of unlawfully opening it can also be charged with safecracking.
Safecracking is a Class I felony in the state of North Carolina and carries penalties of 3-12 months in prison, along with two points added to your criminal record.
Common-law robbery is not specifically defined in the North Carolina General Statutes. It involves taking someone else’s property while the owner is present, but without the presence of a firearm or other dangerous weapon. Because no weapons are involved, it is a Class G felony in North Carolina, as opposed to a Class D felony for robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Class G felonies carry sentences of 8-31 months in prison, with the addition of four points to your criminal record.
Any type of robbery is a serious offense in the state of North Carolina. The penalties can be quite severe and will have lasting consequences. However, there may be mitigating circumstances that can result in reduced charges.
If you are arrested for robbery, you need to understand the specific crimes you’ve been charged with so that you can start building your defense. A seasoned North Carolina criminal defense attorney can help you with your case.