Being charged with a serious crime, such as robbery, can understandably be frightening. After all, the consequences of a robbery conviction can have a long-term impact, affecting your freedom and your ability to easily find work in the future.
If you are facing a robbery charge in Michigan, your legal issues can quickly grow along with the financial issues that such a charge can cause -- for example, due to having to post bail to buy temporary freedom. When facing this charge, understanding the difference between robbery and other types of property crimes, such as theft, is important.
Theft, also known as larceny, is essentially the crime of stealing. If you steal an item that really belongs to another person, with the goal of permanently depriving this person of his or her property, you have committed theft. Common types of theft include shoplifting and pickpocketing. An act of theft becomes a felony or a misdemeanor based on the value of the property stolen.
Robbery is essentially theft that involves using violence or threatening violence. In other words, you may face a robbery charge if police believe that you forcibly took somebody else's property -- for example, a wallet or purse. If the court convicts you of forcibly taking property, which is a felony, you may spend up to 15 years in prison.
Armed robbery is a specific subcategory of robbery used to refer to robbery that someone carries out with the help of a bat, knife, gun or other weapon. The threat that such a weapon poses is a lot greater than the threat that your bare hands pose, so armed robbery's penalty is naturally more serious than that for unarmed robbery. In Michigan, if you face an armed robbery charge, then you face a sentence of at least two years behind prison bars and maybe even a life sentence.
Your legal rights
If you face charges related to property crimes in Michigan, such as robbery, you have the right to proceed to trial to fight such charges. At trial, prosecutors must prove your charges beyond a reasonable doubt before a conviction can happen. Alternatively, you may seek a plea agreement with prosecutors, which may lead to lesser charges and thus a lighter sentence than what would result from a guilty finding at trial.