Analyzing 3 Variations of Robbery Crimes in Maryland
In Maryland, robbery crimes largely follow common law. This means that robbery occurs when a perpetrator steals a victim’s property using force or the threat of force. The perpetrator must also intend to permanently deprive the victim of ownership. At common law, robbery is a crime that combines theft and assault into one offense.
That being said, the Maryland Criminal Code also enhances the common law definition of robbery. Under state law, robbery is not limited to property. A perpetrator can commit robbery by obtaining a victim’s services through force or the threat of force.
More specifically, the Maryland Criminal Code provides laws against and penalties for several different variations of robbery. As explained in the following sections, the punishment changes based on whether the perpetrator committed robbery, armed robbery, or carjacking.
Maryland Code, Criminal Law Section 3-402 makes it unlawful for any person to commit robbery. It is also illegal to attempt to commit robbery, even if the attempt is ultimately unsuccessful.
Any person who violates Section 3-402 by committing — or attempting to commit — robbery is guilty of a felony. If convicted, that person can face up to 15 years in prison.
- Armed Robbery
Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 3-403 establishes the definition of armed robbery. Under this section, it is unlawful for any person to commit or attempt to commit robbery with a:
- Dangerous weapon, such as a knife or firearm; or
- By displaying a written instrument indicating possession of a dangerous weapon, even if that statement is false.
Any person who violates Section 3-403 by committing armed robbery is guilty of a felony. If convicted, that person can face up to 20 years in prison.
Maryland Code, Criminal Law Section 3-405 provides the definition of carjacking. Under this section, it is unlawful for any person to take unauthorized control of a motor vehicle using:
- Force or violence;
- Threats of force or violence; or
- Intimidation to create fear.
In this context, there is a statutory definition of the term motor vehicle. Under Maryland Code, Transportation Section 11-135 the term motor vehicle includes cars, trucks, and other self-propelled vehicles. However, the term motor vehicle does not include:
- Trains or other vehicles operating on rails;
- Motor scooters;
- Electric bicycles; or
- Electric low-speed scooters.
If a person commits carjacking while using or displaying a dangerous weapon, that person is guilty of armed carjacking. For either version of carjacking, Section 3-405 imposes the same penalty. If convicted, the offender can face up to 30 years in prison.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about robbery, armed robbery, or carjacking, it can be incredibly helpful to seek assistance from an established criminal defense attorney. The Bel Air robbery attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in criminal and family law, including robbery, armed robbery, and carjacking. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.