Nessel and Kessel Law recently retained a client who was charged with unarmed robbery. After speaking with the client it became clear that he did not understand why he was being charged with robbery as opposed to simple larceny. Even the most experienced criminal defense attorneys in Michigan find the law in this area is equal parts simple and frustrating.
Let’s start with the definition of “larceny” first. A larceny is the taking of something with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Simply put, larceny is theft. Larceny from a person is when you take something from someone, with the intent to permanently deprive that person of whatever has been taken. The difference between robbery and larceny is the extra element of force.
Robbery is the use of force to accomplish the taking of something with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Again, simply put, robbery is a larceny with force. So for example if a person saw an old lady sitting on a bench who had her purse on the bench next to her, and the person grabbed the purse and ran, that would be a larceny from a person. However, if the same person saw the same old lady on the bench and the purse was on her should, and when the person tried to grab the purse the old lady resisted and there was a minor “tug of war” over the purse, that would be an unarmed robbery.
Now let’s add a weapon into the mix. An armed robbery is a robbery where you use a weapon, or the threat of a weapon, to take something. You don’t actually have to use a weapon to be charged with armed robbery, i.e. if you point a gun, knife, lead pipe, at someone and take their things, it’s an armed robbery. Frustratingly, even if you don’t actually have a weapon, but simply imply a weapon (for example, a guy puts his finger in a pocket and pretends it’s a gun) you can still be charged and convicted or armed robbery.
Many times unarmed robberies are simple larceny from a person, or not even a taking at all. Often times a defendant and complainant know each other and there is a reason that the story of the taking or robbery has been made up. These are tough issues for top defense attorneys in Detroit. If you or someone you know has been charge with Larceny from a Person, Unarmed Robbery, or Armed Robbery, contact the attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law. We have the experience and skill to get you the result you deserve.