The penalty for robbery in Texas can be found in Chapter 29 of the Penal Code titled Robbery. One of the simpler, straightforward crimes in the State, there are only two classifications of Robbery in the State of Texas: Robbery and Aggravated Robbery. Robbery is not to be confused with theft, the details of which can be found in Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal code.
In short, basic robbery is when one commits theft and injures someone else. Aggravated robbery is when one commits basic robbery AND seriously injures someone, uses a weapon or commits robbery against a protected class of people as outlined by the state (and by us, see below).
What Counts As Property?
Though the State defines robbery as an attempt to obtain ones property, the definition of property is fairly broad. In the eyes of the State, property can be money, clothing, or even a document. Additionally, anything proven to have had value can be considered “property” in Texas.
What Counts as Robbery?
Robbery is when one, in the course of committing theft, knowingly (either intentionally or recklessly) causes bodily harm to another OR places another “in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.”
In English: robbery is an additional step from just basic theft. A robbery charge occurs when someone is committing property theft, and someone (the victim, not the offender) is injured during the offense.
If one is found guilty of robbery in the State of Texas (updated 2022), they have committed a second degree felony. A second-degree felony, in Texas is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of twenty years. Meanwhile, if convicted, the minimum jail sentence for a second-degree felony in the State is two years.
We cannot emphasize this enough; the minimum jail sentence is only if you are convicted of committing a second-degree felony in Texas. If you are a first-time offender, or have a terrific attorney, you may well be able to plead down and bypass jail time. However, that will all depend on the judge.
Where is Robbery Most Common in Texas?
As you might expect, the usual suspects are all there. In the reporting years from 2015-to 2019, the most robberies occurred, in order, in Harris County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, Travis County, and Bexar County. Additionally, the counties of Hidalgo, Lubbock, Webb, and Collin county consistently received 50-100 cases of robbery per year.
What Counts As Aggravated Robbery?
Aggravated robbery escalates the charge to a First Degree of a felony under certain conditions. If one causes serious bodily injury to another or uses a deadly weapon (gun, knife..etc) in the process of the robbery. Note that you don’t need to actually use the deadly weapon against the person (stab them or fire a shot) to have committed aggravated robbery.
However, there is one more way simple robbery can be elevated to aggravated robbery and that is if you commit an act of robbery against a protected class of people. For the purposes of aggravated robbery, those people are anyone who is either *disabled or 65 years of age or older.
*By disabled, the State means someone who possesses “a mental, physical, or developmental disability who is substantially unable to protect himself from harm.
Aggravated robbery escalates the penalty to a felony in the first degree. First-degree felonies come with a minimum mandatory jail sentence of at least five years and up to 99 years. This is the maximum penalty the State can give without being a Capital Felony which comes with the death penalty. You can be given the death penalty for aggravated robbery in Texas.
Where is Aggravated Robbery Most Common in Texas?
Aggravated robbery, like a simple robbery, is still very common in Texas’ major cities. In Harris County, home to Houston, there were 1,347 reports of aggravated robbery (up from 1,135 in 2018). After Houston, Dallas and Tarrant County were number two and three in an aggravated robbery with 1,089 and, a fairly big drop, to 641 reported cases respectively.