Robbery & Carjacking


What Is Robbery?

An individual can be accused of robbery if they unlawfully take control of an individual’s property through the use of force or the threat of force.

The “use of force” is a distinguishing factor and sets robbery apart from other theft-related charges.

Because robbery is considered a felony, a guilty conviction can have significant immediate and long-term effects. If found guilty of robbery, you may face up to $25,000 in fines and potentially a lengthy period of incarceration depending on the grading or degree of robbery. In addition, a conviction will also result in the loss of several other rights, which include the following:

  • Loss of voting rights
  • Inability to own or possess a firearm
  • Loss of/ineligible for government benefits
  • Ineligible for public office
  • No longer permitted to serve on a jury

In addition, a robbery conviction and subsequent felony record can make it difficult to secure gainful employment after being released from incarceration.

Types Of Robbery

Robbery charges typically follow into two categories: Robbery and Robbery of Motor Vehicle (carjacking).

Robbery refers to the theft of property with the use of or threat of force. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, an individual can face robbery charges even if their actions did not result in a completed theft; attempted robbery is also considered a chargeable offense.

Robbery may be considered a felony of the first-, second-, or third-degree as follows:

  • First Degree: The accused inflicts serious bodily harm or threatens to inflict serious bodily harm. A robbery can also be considered as a felony of the first degree if the accused also commits an additional first or second-degree felony while completing or attempting the robbery.
  • Second Degree: The robbery results in or poses the threat of bodily injury, though the injury does not need to be considered serious.
  • Third Degree: The robbery resulted in the use of force, “however slight,” though it does not need to result in injury to be considered a third-degree felony.


§ 3701 Robbery

Per PA law, under 18, PA C.S.A 3701, an individual can be charged with robbery if they meet the following requirements:

(1)  A person is guilty of robbery if, in the course of committing a theft, he:

(i)  inflicts serious bodily injury upon another;

(ii)  threatens another with or intentionally puts him in fear of immediate serious bodily injury;

(iii)  commits or threatens immediately to commit any felony of the first or second degree;

(iv)  inflicts bodily injury upon another or threatens another with or intentionally puts him in fear of immediate bodily injury;

(v)  physically takes or removes property from the person of another by force however slight; or

(vi)  takes or removes the money of a financial institution without the permission of the financial institution by making a demand of an employee of the financial institution orally or in writing with the intent to deprive the financial institution thereof.

(2)  An act shall be deemed “in the course of committing a theft” if it occurs in an attempt to commit theft or in flight after the attempt or commission.

(3)  For purposes of this subsection, a “financial institution” means a bank, trust company, savings trust, credit union or similar institution.

In the Commonwealth, robbery of a motor vehicle, also referred to as a carjacking, car theft, or grand theft auto, refers to the forceful theft of an occupied vehicle. This is different from auto theft, which refers to the theft of an unoccupied vehicle in which the individual with lawful possession is not involved. Robbery of a motor vehicle is always considered a felony of the first degree.


§ 3702 Robbery of a Motor Vehicle

Per PA law, under 18, PA C.S.A 3702, an individual can be charged with robbery if they meet the following requirements:

(a) A person commits a felony of the first degree if he steals or takes a motor vehicle from another person in the presence of that person or any other person in lawful possession of the motor vehicle.

If You've Been Charged

Robbery is a serious felony offense that can have both immediate and long-term effects on your life or that of your loved one. If convicted of robbery, you may face incarceration, costly fees, and a loss of your rights as a U.S. citizen. A felony conviction can also make it difficult to find work and maintain financial security.

If you have been accused of robbery, you must seek immediate legal counsel. The attorneys at Palissery Law Offices have the criminal defense experience to stand by you during each step of the criminal process. You are not in this alone. If you have been accused of Robbery in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, call us today at 570-331-4LAW or by submitting an online request for a free case evaluation.

In Pennsylvania, robbery charges, which can be graded as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree felony, expose a defendant to significant punishment in the event of a conviction. If you or a loved one has been accused of robbery, you may be concerned about how this felony charge will affect your future. However, with the proper representation, a criminal accusation brought by the Commonwealth do not automatically translate into a conviction It is important to work closely with a team of experienced legal professionals who will understand your needs, protect your rights, and develop a strong defense against a conviction for robbery.

With over 27 years criminal defense experience, the attorneys at Palissery Law Offices are ready to help you navigate the complex legal system and develop a defense to pending robbery charges. Our team of dedicated professionals have represented numerous individuals charged with committing a robbery, including carjacking, and home invasion.