Virginia Robbery Law

< VA Criminal Law

Virginia Robbery Attorneys

Robbery, being a violent crime, is a significant felony offense in Virginia. When facing robbery accusations, it is crucial to avoid handling the case alone. Whenever your civil rights, finances, or freedom are at stake, seeking advice from experienced legal counsel who possesses a deep understanding of the law and relevant cases is essential.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, robbery convictions carry mandatory sentencing and imprisonment. Moreover, a robbery conviction necessitates a portion of the sentence to be served in prison, without any exceptions. This underscores the importance of promptly developing a defense strategy. A skilled attorney may be able to demonstrate that the evidence was unlawfully obtained or that it lacks strength in relation to your case.

Definition of Robbery

Robbery involves unlawfully taking property from another person through the use of threats or force. It is considered a more serious offense than typical theft due to the potential harm posed to the property owner.

In Virginia, robbery charges are divided into first and second degree based on various factors, including case details and the strength of evidence against the accused. First degree robbery charges are typically applied when the defendant uses force against the victim or threatens deadly force with a weapon. Second degree robbery encompasses situations where the alleged victim fears bodily harm but no weapon is involved.

To convict someone of robbery, specific elements must be present:

  • Acting without the owner’s permission.
  • Intending to steal the property.
  • Taking property from its rightful owner.
  • Using force or intimidation to obtain the property.

If the property involved is a motor vehicle, the charge may escalate to “Carjacking,” carrying a sentence of fifteen years to life. In cases where the robber inflicts serious bodily harm on the victim, even without the use of a deadly weapon, an “aggravated robbery” charge may be filed. Aggravated robbery carries stricter penalties as it involves causing significant harm to the victim, rather than mere threats.

A robbery conviction typically results in a prison sentence, the length of which depends on the defendant’s criminal history, case circumstances, and the nature of the crime.

Three Strikes Law

In 1994, Virginia implemented the “Three Strikes Law,” which mandates a life sentence without the possibility of parole for individuals with two prior convictions for violent crimes who are subsequently convicted of a third violent offense. Additionally, in 1995, Virginia abolished parole for felons and implemented truth-in-sentencing guidelines. These guidelines require offenders to serve a minimum of eighty-five percent of their sentences, regardless of their behavior in prison. This shift transferred the authority for determining release from parole boards to the sentencing judges.

Given the severe penalties associated with these laws, seeking early legal consultation becomes crucial. It is important to provide your attorney with comprehensive and truthful information. Document everything you can recall about the situation, including details such as time of day, location, and potential witnesses. Gathering all relevant documents and evidence and maintaining a file for your lawyer is also essential.

Robbery Defense

There are various defense strategies available for individuals facing robbery charges. The accused can aim to convince the jury that the evidence presented by the prosecution does not sufficiently prove their guilt. Alternatively, they may admit to the actions they are accused of but argue that certain circumstances absolve them of responsibility. Potential defenses for a robbery charge include: (1) Innocence, (2) Involuntary Intoxication, (3) Entrapment, and (4) Duress.

It is not necessary for the defendant to fully convince the jury of their innocence. They must only introduce reasonable doubt regarding the prosecution’s case. To determine the best course of action if you or someone you care about is facing a robbery charge, seeking guidance from a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial.