Texas Robbery Laws
Overview of Texas Robbery Laws
Robbery and aggravated robbery (sometimes called “armed robbery”) are violations of Texas state law. To convict a defendant of robbery, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that while committing theft (taking another person’s property with the intention of depriving them of it), the defendant intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another. Alternately, the prosecutor may prove that the defendant intentionally, knowingly or recklessly threatened the victim or caused the victim to fear bodily injury or death.
The crime of robbery can be elevated to that of aggravated robbery if in addition to the criteria for proving a case of robbery, the prosecutor can prove that the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon, and/or the victim who was threatened or placed in fear of bodily injury or death was an individual 65 years of age or older, or was disabled either physically, mentally or developmentally.
Example: If Bob walked up to Joe and pressed a ﬁnger into his back and said he had a gun and that Joe must give him his wallet, that would be a robbery. Joe was placed in fear that he would be physically hurt if he did not give up his wallet. However, if Bob really did use a gun or if Joe really did get hurt, Bob’s crime would be elevated to aggravated (or “armed”) robbery.
Defenses to Robbery Charges
- Lack of intent
- Lack of knowledge
- No bodily injury was caused
- The victim did not fear bodily injury or death
Penalties and Sentences
Robbery is charged as a second degree felony in Texas. This carries a penalty of two to twenty years in a state prison and/or a ﬁne of no more than $10,000. If the crime is elevated to that of aggravated robbery, the charge will be ﬁrst degree felony. This carries a more serious penalty of ﬁve to 99 years in a state prison and/or a ﬁne of no more than $10,000. Both cases can be enhanced with prior convictions for other felony offenses.
Aggravated Robbery is a very serious offense. These cases are almost always given penitentiary recommended sentences by the District Attorney’s ofﬁces that handle them. For this reason, these cases typically proceed to trial. This will cost you money and you run the risk of a high prison sentence even after trial.
Consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as you are aware of these charges in order to protect your rights.
Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 29