Robbery is a serious criminal charge that can carry expensive fines and jail sentences in Virginia. If you or your loved one have been accused of stealing something from someone by force, or you’ve already been formally charged, it’s important that you talk to an experienced attorney. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the sooner your attorney can begin protecting your rights.
The Virginia criminal defense attorneys Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC have extensive experience representing clients who have been charged with robbery and armed robbery. When you work with our experienced criminal defense attorneys, you can rest assured that we will thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, and develop a winning legal strategy. Contact Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule an initial consultation and learn how we can advocate for you.
What Constitutes Robbery in Virginia?
Virginia has three categories of theft-related crimes: larceny, robbery, and burglary. Robbery is a felony offense, and prosecutors must prove that the defendant committed theft and a crime of violence or with the threat of violence. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant acted without the property owner’s permission and intended to steal the property. Defendants can be convicted of robbery if they rob a person of goods or money through:
- Violence, including beating, choking, or striking the victim, or
- Assault, such as placing the victim in fear of serious bodily injury, or
- Threatening to use or brandishing a deadly weapon, such as a firearm.
The Difference Between Theft and Robbery Charges
Theft and robbery are two separate crimes in Virginia. Robbery is considered a more serious felony charge that requires the prosecution to prove that violence or a threat of violence occurred. Many self-related charges don’t involve threats of violence or actual violence. Instead, robbery is a larceny offense aggravated by the threat of physical violence or force or by actual force.
First and Second-Degree Larceny
Virginia classifies robbery into two different categories: first and second-degree charges. When a defendant uses force or threatens deadly force with the presence of a weapon, prosecutors will usually bring first-degree robbery charges. When the victim was in fear of bodily injury but no weapon was used, and no physical violence occurred, the prosecution will generally bring second-degree robbery charges. First-degree larceny is often referred to as armed robbery and carries harsher penalties. In Virginia, when a defendant is convicted, he or she will face mandatory sentencing and prison times. Many defendants convicted of robbery end up serving time behind bars and cannot negotiate probation instead of jail time. It’s crucial that you discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible.
“Carjacking” Charges in Virginia
When the property in question is a vehicle and the defendant has been accused of robbery, the prosecution may increase the charge to a carjacking charge. Carjacking carries a prison sentence of 15 years to life. Additionally, if the defendant inflicted serious bodily harm on a victim, even if he or she wasn’t using a deadly weapon, the prosecutor may bring an aggravated robbery charge.
The Penalties for Armed Robbery
Armed robbery is considered a felony offense in Virginia. If you are convicted of a felony charge, you can lose your right to vote, bear arms, and sit on a jury. You’ll also be facing a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 5 years. If a firearm was involved in the robbery, you’d face another mandatory minimum prison sentence of at least three years if you are convicted. In other words, if a firearm was involved in the robbery, you could face a minimum of eight years in jail. Finally, if this is a second or third conviction for robbery, the mandatory minimum jail sentence would increase.
Depending on the circumstances of your case and whether there were other aggravating factors, you could face a sentence of life in prison. For example, if you were involved in a murder or attempted murder and were using a firearm in the commission of the robbery, you will likely face a sentence of life in prison. Ultimately, the length of a defendant’s sentence depends on the defendant’s criminal history and the unique circumstances and nature of the crime.
Preparing a Legal Defense FIrst-Degree Robbery Charges
The penalties for robbery are serious, and you will benefit from taking your legal defense just as seriously. The attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC will immediately investigate your case and gather evidence on your behalf. We will look at the evidence the prosecutor plans to bring against you and begin creating a legal strategy to combat the prosecutor’s case. Speaking to an attorney sooner rather than later will help your attorney be able to preserve evidence that may get lost or forgotten otherwise, including witness testimonies, videos, and alibis that could help your legal defense.
When prosecutors cannot prove that violence or a threat of violence occurred, they may lower the charge to larceny, which carries less serious penalties. If there is evidence that you did not use violence or the threat of violence, your attorney can begin negotiating with the prosecution to lower the charges against you. You can show that you did not intend to steal property or had the property owner’s permission to take the property. In other cases, you can show that your constitutional rights have been violated, leading to a dismissal of evidence against you.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or your loved one are facing charges of robbery or armed robbery, it’s crucial that you work with an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC have a proven track record of successfully defending clients charged with robbery in Virginia. We know how to create a robust defense, negotiate aggressively with the prosecution, and defend you in court when necessary. We will devote the resources and time needed to build a solid defense on your behalf. Contact Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can advocate for you.