In Florida, there are separate crimes for theft, robbery and robbery by sudden snatching. Under the Florida criminal laws, a theft occurs when someone takes the property of another without permission either permanently or temporarily. This crime does not involve taking the property by force or threat. For instance, if the victim left her purse on her desk and the suspect came in and took it while she was gone, that would be theft. Theft can range from a misdemeanor to a first degree felony depending on the value of the property taken or other factors.
In Florida, a robbery occurs when a person takes the property of another without permission by use of force, violence or threat of violence. An example would be where a woman was walking with her purse and the suspect pushes her down and takes the purse or otherwise wrestles the purse away from her. Robbery is a second degree felony punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison. However, if the suspect had or used a deadly weapon during the robbery, it becomes a first degree felony.
In Florida, robbery by sudden snatching involves taking property from another when the property is on that person and is aware of the taking. As example would be where the woman was walking with her purse in her hand the the suspect grabs the purse and runs away. However, if the purse was close to the victim but not on her person and the suspect took it without violence or a threat, it would likely just be a theft. Robbery by sudden snatching is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison if no deadly weapon was possessed or used. If the suspect used a weapon, then the crime would be armed robbery and a first degree felony. If the suspect possessed a weapon during the robbery by sudden snatching but did not use it, the crime becomes a second degree felony.