Assault During a Robbery

A crime scene, closed off with yellow police tape

Robbery is a serious felony-level offense in Virginia, and a conviction can result in a large fine, a significant prison sentence, and a permanent criminal record. The consequences are even more serious when a defendant is accused of committing an assault during a robbery. 

Reach Out to a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with robbery in Virginia, your freedom and future are at risk. You may have multiple defenses to the robbery charges you face, but you’ll need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Robbery convictions require mandatory prison time and sentencing. Contact the experienced attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about your rights.

Different Categories of Robbery 

Before a recent change in 2021, Virginia only had one penalty for robbery. Any person convicted of taking money or property through the use of force or threat of force could be sentenced to five years in prison. After the change, all robberies are still charged as felony-level crimes in Virginia. However, not all robberies carry the same sentence. There are four categories of robberies under Virginia’s law. 

The Definition of Assault in Virginia

The prosecutor can pursue harsher penalties when a defendant assaults a victim during a robbery. An assault is an overt act intending to cause bodily harm to another with a present ability to cause harm. Assault can also occur when a person engages in an act intended to place another person in fear or apprehension of bodily harm. The act must create a reasonable fear or apprehension of harm in the victim.

Robbery Leading to Bodily Injury of Death

When a person commits robbery and, during the act, causes one or more people serious bodily injury or death, they can be charged with a Class 2 felony. In Virginia, a Class 2 felony carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years to life in prison. It also carries a potential fine of up to $100,000. This type of robbery is the most serious because it involves an assault that leads to serious injury or death. Depending on the facts in your case, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to drop the robbery charge against you to a lower-level felony with penalties that aren’t as severe. 

Robbery with a Firearm

When a person commits robbery while using or displaying a firearm in a threatening manner, they engage in an assault during a robbery. Threatening a person with a firearm puts the person in reasonable fear or apprehension of harm. Those convicted of a Class 3 felony charge for robbery face five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Robbery Using Physical Force

When a defendant commits robbery through physical force, but the robbery doesn’t result in serious bodily injury, the defendant will face Class 5 felony charges. The defendant can also face a Class 5 felony charge when using or displaying a deadly weapon other than a firearm in a threatening manner. Using another type of deadly weapon is also considered assault because it puts victims in reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm. Class 5 felony charges carry a prison sentence of up to ten years and a fine of up to $2,500. 

Robbery Using a Threat or Intimidation

Finally, a person who commits robbery using a threat, intimidation, or any other means that don’t involve a deadly weapon will face a Class 6 felony charge. Although Class 6 felony charges are the least serious type of robbery, they still have serious consequences. Class 6 felony charges carry a potential criminal sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $2,500. 

Mandatory Sentencing

A mandatory minimum prison sentence requires a convicted individual to complete the full sentence before leaving prison. In other words, if you are convicted of robbery, the judge will be required to impose a mandatory prison sentence, even if there are mitigating circumstances in your case. The mandatory minimum prison sentence increases with each robbery conviction and is based on the category of the robbery charge. Virginia prosecutors take robbery charges seriously, and if you’ve been charged with robbery, it’s important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.

Defenses to Virginia Robbery Charges

There are multiple effective defenses to robbery charges. The defendant may be able to persuade the prosecutor or the jury that the prosecution cannot prove all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, a defense attorney may be able to prove that you didn’t have the necessary intent to take or steal property or commit an assault during the robbery. Other legal defenses involve constitutional challenges, mistaken witnesses, and whether the property was taken in the victim’s presence.

A robbery attorney in Virginia can attempt to work with you to build the best legal defense strategy tailored to the facts of your unique case. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we have the resources and experience to thoroughly investigate your case and collect evidence disproving the prosecution’s case against you. Throughout the pre-trial process, we will negotiate aggressively with the prosecution to lower the severity of the charges against you or dismiss the case against you. If your case proceeds to trial, our trial-ready attorneys are prepared to fight aggressively for you in court. 

Discuss Your Assault During a Robbery Case with an Attorney

If you’re facing charges for assault during a robbery, you could face a significant prison sentence or even a life sentence. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong legal defense against your charges. The criminal defense attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC have extensive experience fighting for Virginians’ rights who’ve been charged with robbery and other serious criminal offenses. Contact Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to learn more about how we can provide you with an aggressive, effective criminal defense.