Virginia Robbery Lawyer
Robbery is considered a violent crime and is a serious felony offense in the Commonwealth of Virginia. When someone accused of robbery, they should never try to handle the case alone. If at any time your civil rights, finances or freedom are at risk, you should always consult with experienced legal counsel who understands the law and is familiar with cases involving your charges.
In Virginia, robbery convictions require mandatory sentencing and prison time. Furthermore, a conviction for robbery in the Commonwealth of Virginia requires that a defendant serve a portion of their sentence behind bars. There are no exceptions! This is why it is critical to begin putting a defense strategy in place as soon as it is possible. A proficient attorney may be able to prove that evidence was illegally obtained or that the evidence is weak against you.
Definition of Robbery in Virginia
Robbery is defined as being the taking of property from another by the use of threats or force. It is a form of theft; however, robbery is more serious than a normal theft offense because of the threat of harm to the property owner.
Under Virginia law, robbery is categorized into first and second degree charges. The charge will depend on a number of factors, including certain factors about the case and the strength of the evidence the prosecutor has against the accused. If the defendant uses force against the victim or threatens deadly force with the presence of a weapon, typically first degree robbery charges are filed. Second degree robbery consists of the alleged victim being in fear of bodily injury to them but no weapon is used in the commission of the crime.
Crimes are made up of elements which must be present in order to convict a person of that offense. The defendant is guilty of robbery if:
- He/she acts without the property owners permission
- Intends to steal the property in question
- Takes property from its rightful owner
- Uses force or intimidation to acquire the property
Also, if the property in question is a motor vehicle and the person is accused of robbery, the charge is upped to “Carjacking”, which carries a sentence of fifteen years to life. If the robber inflicts serious bodily harm on a victim, even without using a deadly weapon, an “aggravated robbery” charge may be filed. Aggravated robbery is more serious than simple robbery. Laws impose stricter penalties when a victim is seriously hurt and not just threatened.
The usual punishment for a robbery conviction is a prison sentence. The length of the sentence will depend on the accused’s criminal history, the circumstances of the case and the nature of the crime.
The Three Strikes Law and Penalties
Virginia passed the “Three Strikes Law” in 1994, meaning that any criminal previously convicted of two separate violent crimes will automatically be sentenced to life in prison for the third conviction of any violent crime with no chance of parole. Also, in 1995, Virginia put an end to parole for felons and enacted truth-in sentencing guidelines. Truth-in sentencing laws require that offenders serve at least eighty-five percent of their sentences, no matter how well they behave in prison. This took the power away from the parole boards and put it on the sentencing judge.
Because of these stiff penalties, it can be seen why early consultation with a lawyer is necessary. It is important to give the attorney as much information as possible and be completely truthful. Write down everything you can think of about the situation. Everything you know, remember or saw is helpful. Try to include as many details as possible including time of day, location and any witnesses. In addition, it is necessary to gather all related documents and evidence so you can keep a file for the lawyer.
There are various defenses possible for a robbery offense. The accused can attempt to persuade the jury into believing that the prosecution’s evidence does not prove that they committed the crime. They can also admit to performing the actions they are accused of but say that certain facts make them not responsible. Possible defenses to a robbery charge include: (1) Innocence, (2) Intoxication (involuntary), (3) Entrapment and (4) Duress.
The defendant doesn’t have to entirely convince a jury that they are innocent. They must only cast a reasonable doubt on the prosecutions. A qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney can provide the best advice on what your next steps should be if you or someone you care about is facing a charge of robbery