The Differences Between Robbery and Theft in Chicago

boris-debusscher-485536-copy-207x300U.S. courts are facing many criminal cases that are somehow associated with robbery or theft. When these two almost identical crimes are coupled with an uninformed population, the result is a high number of convicted felons who do not know their rights based on their crimes.

While these two forms of crime may sound the same, they are different in nature. Many law enforcement units across the country report drastic reductions in cases linked to robberies and thefts, but the numbers are still high. A recent report by the Chicago Police Department shows a slight decrease in theft-related crimes over the past decade when compared to robbery incidences. This raises the question as to what is the difference between these two types of crime?

What You Should Know About Robbery Laws in Chicago

The law in Chicago defines robbery as the act of taking another person’s possessions by using force or the threat of force without their consent. For instance, a robbery occurs when an assailant forcefully snatches a bag from someone or issues a threat and takes property that does not belong to him or her. In most cases, such crimes involve person-to-person contact or intimidation. Furthermore, such crimes also carry a three to seven-year prison sentence and $25,000 in fines. Likewise, the law also differentiates ordinary robbery from armed robbery and aggravated robbery. In this case, they involve flashing a weapon and intimidation. In both of these crimes, the sentence carries a four to 15-year prison sentence.

What is important to note is that acts of robbery, unlike theft, carry a heavy penalty and are often given elevated attention by courts of law. Therefore, in such cases, the offender must be knowledgeable about the law before admitting to any claims. It is important to consult experienced attorneys who are also conversant with local criminal laws in Chicago.

Theft Laws in Chicago

On the other hand, the law in Chicago defines theft as an act that involves taking another person’s possessions through deception or without the consent of the property owner. For example, when someone breaks into your house and takes your possessions, such an act counts as theft. Likewise, an act of deceit in which you are conned of your money or possessions is also considered theft.

The major difference between theft and robbery is the lack of person-to-person contact or direct intimidation or threat that is associated with robbery cases. A great number of theft cases are often associated with burglary or handling stolen property. As such, they do not carry heavy sentences or fines.

In fact, Chicago laws categorize different theft cases based on the value of the stolen property. Crimes such as shoplifting and petty theft are, in most cases, recognized as misdemeanors that carry a sentence of less than one year in jail or a fine not exceeding $2,500. The law may also require the offender to repay the property owner for property loss or damages. In addition, it is important to note that the penalty for theft in Chicago is directly proportional to the magnitude of the act. As a result, as the value of the stolen property increases, so do the penalties and the charges.

In conclusion, it is important to note that while acts of robbery and theft may seem identical in many ways, they are different and in most cases require the expertise of criminal law attorneys. For expert legal advice in criminal law, please get in touch with David Freidberg Attorney at Law or call us at 312-560-7100.

(image courtesy of Boris Debusscher)