Thank you for your interest in The Law Offices of Andrew M. Weisberg. Please fill out the form below and we will be in touch soon

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

*Indicates Required Fields




(773) 908-9811

(773) 377-4310





(773) 908-9811



Aggressive. Experienced.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

blog_homeBlog Home

Robbery vs Theft: The Differences and the Consequences

If you get caught stealing, you could be charged with theft.


If you get caught stealing, you could be charged with robbery.


Wait, what?


Robbery and theft may seem like different terms for the same action. And in a way, they are. But there are big differences.


If you get charged with theft in Illinois, you can thank your lucky stars you weren’t charged with robbery. Under Illinois state law, the two are completely different crimes with very different penalties.


So, what is the difference?


Theft Definition and Penalties


Theft is committed when an individual obtains unauthorized control over another individual’s property. Basically, theft is the act of stealing someone’s stuff.


Theft is usually done in secret: shoplifting, stealing workplace property, and embezzlement are all committed without confrontation and considered theft under Illinois state law.


Illinois state law has four classifications of theft. Each classification of theft includes a different amount of property stolen, and therefore has different consequences. We have discussed these penalties in previous blog posts: Illinois has one of the lowest felony theft thresholds in the country. Theft of just $300 can saddle you with a Class 4 felony charge. People convicted of a Class 4 felonies typically spend several months in jail.


And it doesn’t stop there. If you steal a designer bag or sneak a few bills from your employer’s cash register, you might have to spend up to three years in prison.


Chicago Robbery Lawyer

Robbery Definition and Penalties


What shoplifting is to theft, a “stickup” is to robbery. Using imminent force or threats to obtain someone else’s property is considered robbery in the state of Illinois. These types of crimes usually involve direct confrontation. If you snatch a purse from a lady walking down the street, or hold up a convenience store, you may be charged with robbery.


Different situations and factors lead to different types of robbery charges:


Simple robbery is classified as a Class 2 felony. For your first offense, you will face a sentence of three to seven years in jail and/or a maximum fine of $25,000.


If the robbery took place in a school, day care, childcare facility, or place of worship, the crime will be elevated to a Class 1 felony. If you are convicted of a Class 1 felony, you will face a sentence of four to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $25,000.


Aggravated robbery is also considered a Class 1 felony. Aggravated robbery is a charge used for robberies with certain factors present. These factors can include (but are not limited to):


  • Victim was over the age of 60 or under the age of 16
  • Victim was handicapped
  • The robbery was considered a hate crime
  • The robbery caused bodily harm or permanent injury to the victim


If you were armed at the time of the robbery, or discharged a weapon at the time of the robbery, you may be charged with armed robbery, which is considered a Class X felony. This is the most severe felony charge you can receive in Illinois. You may face a sentence of six to 55 years in prison (or life in prison) and/or a maximum fine of $25,000.


If your robbery involves obtaining control of a vehicle through force or threat, you may be charged a different charge altogether. “Vehicular hijacking” is considered a Class 1 felony; “aggravated vehicular hijacking” is considered a Class X felony.


Other Related Charges


Illinois also has specific definitions and penalties for burglary, residential burglary, identity theft, fraud, and other related crimes.


The sentences for all of these crimes are defined by state regulations, the amount of money stolen, the defendant’s prior convictions, and any aggravating factors that may have affected the case.


If you have been charged of a theft-related crime, it is important to learn the specifics behind the charges you are facing so that you know how to fight back.



About the Author:


Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, Murder, and drug crimes.


Our Blog

Understanding the Burden of Proof in Chicago Burglary Cases


Burglary cases in Chicago, like all criminal cases, hinge on the concept of the burden of proof. Understanding this legal principle is crucial for both prosecutors and defense attorneys as they navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system. In this blog, we will delve into the burden of proof in Chicago burglary cases, exploring what prosecutors must demonstrate to secure a conviction and how defense attorneys work to challenge that proof. Additionally, we will discuss the importance of building [...]

Criminal Trespass and Civil Rights in IL: Discrimination and Profiling

Criminal Trespass

Criminal trespass laws are essential for protecting property rights and maintaining public safety. However, the enforcement of these laws can sometimes intersect with civil rights protections, leading to issues such as discrimination, racial profiling, and selective enforcement. In Chicago, individuals facing criminal trespass charges may be caught in these complex dynamics’ crosshairs. In this blog, we will explore the intersection of criminal trespass laws and civil rights protections in Illinois, shedding light on the challenges posed by discrimination and profiling [...]