Robbery in Virginia

Robbery generally involves larceny from a person using violence or threat. Robbery is treated more seriously than grand larceny or other types of theft because it involves a threat to the owner. Robbery is a felony crime in Virginia.

If you were arrested on robbery charges in Virginia, contact an experienced Charlottesville criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A felony conviction for robbery can lead to serious prison time and a permanent felony record.

Virginia Robbery Statute

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-58, it is a crime for any person to commit robbery through

  • partial strangulation or suffocation;
  • striking, beating, assault, or other violence against the person;
  • putting a person in fear of serious bodily harm;
  • threat; or
  • presenting of firearms or other deadly weapon.

Elements of the Crime of Robbery

Robbery can be defined as, “the taking, with intent to steal, of the personal property of another, from his person or in his presence, against his will, by violence or intimidation.” In a robbery case, this generally requires the prosecutor to prove all the elements of the crime in order to get a conviction. If the prosecutor cannot prove all the elements, then the defendant should not be found guilty.

Robbery requires the property to be taken with violence, threat, or intimidation. Asking to borrow someone's phone to make a phone call and then walking away with it could be considered larceny presuming the requisite intent could be proven, but it may not be considered robbery because there was no violence or threat.

Another element of robbery requires the property to be taken from another's person or in his or her presence. If someone left their bike outside a store and someone ran away with the bike, it would not be considered robbery because (in addition to no violence or threat) the bike was taken from the owner or in his or her presence.

The value of property involved is not an element of the crime. An individual could face felony robbery charges for stealing a wallet, or diamond necklace.

Penalties for Robbery in Virginia

Robbery is a felony crime in Virginia, and a robbery conviction is punishable by confinement in a state correctional facility for anywhere between five years and life in prison, although that some or all of that time may be suspended.

In addition to the criminal penalties for robbery, a felony conviction can leave the defendant with collateral consequences of a felony record. A felony record can make it more difficult to find a job, find a place to live, and limit other opportunities.

Robbery with a Firearm Penalties

The use or attempted use of a firearm in committing certain felonies (including robbery) is a separate offense and could be charged in combination with an armed robbery charge. Use or attempted use or display of any pistol, shotgun, rifle, or other firearm while committing robbery carries an additional minimum term:

  • three years for a first offense, and
  • five years for a second or subsequent offense.

Carjacking Penalties

Carjacking is a separate offense but under the Robbery section of the Virginia Code. The Virginia carjacking law is similar to robbery, in that it involves taking a motor vehicle or taking control of a vehicle of another by threat or force.

The penalties for carjacking are much more serious than general robbery charges. A conviction for carjacking in Virginia can result in imprisonment for life or a term of not less than 15 years, although some or all of that time may be suspended.

Robbery Defenses

Talk to your Virginia criminal defense lawyer about what defenses may be available in your case. Even if you think you don't have a strong case, your lawyer may be able to identify a number of legal defenses. If your lawyer can sway the jury on a single element necessary to convict someone for robbery, the jury should find the defendant not guilty.

Possible defenses to robbery charges may include

  • no force or threat of force was used,
  • the alleged victim was not in the area when the property was taken, or
  • police misconduct.

The prosecutor may make it seem like you have no choice but to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. But before you give up your rights, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case and what you can do to fight the charges or negotiate a better plea deal.

Charlottesville Robbery Defense Lawyer

Robbery is a felony offense in Virginia and carries serious penalties, including mandatory prison time. If you or a loved one was arrested on robbery or theft charges in Charlottesville, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about how to fight criminal charges and keep a clean record. Contact me today for a free consultation.

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