Henrico County Robbery Lawyer
There were 95 reports of robbery in Henrico County Virginia in 2014, according to Incidents Crime Reports. Robbery is a very specific criminal offense, and not all thefts are considered robberies. If you are accused of robbery, this can result in much more serious charges than simply being accused of larceny or shoplifting. A Henrico County robbery lawyer can explain the potential consequences of robbery and can assist you in deciding on the best way to respond to your criminal charges.
Robbery Laws in Virginia
Robbery is a separate and distinct crime from simple theft, because robbery involves the use or threat of violence.
- If no violence is involved, stealing goods valued at $200 or taking items valued at $5 or less directly from a person is a misdemeanor under Virginia Code section 18.2-96.
- Without violence, taking items worth more than $5 directly from a person, or taking items valued over $200, is a felony under Virginia Code section 18.2-95.
Penalties for petit larceny, shoplifting, or the theft of low-value goods, can include up to a year in jail, while penalties for grand larceny for more expensive items can result in probation and up 20 years’ incarceration.
Once violence or violent threats are involved, the crime turns from theft to robbery, and the penalties become much more severe. Virginia Code section 18.2-58 addresses the crime of robbery. Under this law, you face felony charges and a minimum of five years of incarceration and the potential for life in prison if you:
- Strangle or suffocate someone to steal items
- Strike or beat someone to steal items
- Put someone in fear of serious bodily harm for the purposes of stealing items (assault)
- Commit any other violence against a person in the commission of a theft
- Threaten the use of weapons or show any deadly weapons in order to steal items
Code section 18.2-53.1 also establishes additional punishments if you use a pistol, shotgun, or any other type of firearm when committing or attempting to commit robbery. This is a separate charge with a mandatory minimum three-year term of incarceration for a first conviction and a mandatory minimum five-year penalty for any subsequent convictions.
A prosecutor can charge you under both section 18.2-58 and 18.2-53.1, and the five-year penalty for robbery would combine with the three-year penalty for unlawful display of a firearm, resulting in a minimum of eight years’ incarceration for a first offense.
Hiring a Henrico County Robbery Lawyer
Because robbery is a very serious felony offense, it is important that you understand all of your legal options when you are charged with this crime. A Henrico County robbery lawyer may be able to help negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor so that you can plead down to simple larceny or another less serious offense. Prosecutors are sometimes willing to make a deal where you spend less time in jail in exchange for admitting your guilt. A robbery lawyer may also be able to help you get charges dropped or avoid conviction.
Defenses to robbery charges may include:
- Mistaken identity: You weren’t the one who stole the items.
- Entrapment: You were tricked or coerced into committing the robbery.
- Duress: You were forced to commit the robbery because of a credible threat of serious bodily injury.
- Lack of intent: You did not mean to threaten and/or to deprive the rightful owner of property.
- True owner: You were the true owner of the property you are accused of stealing.
It is also important to remember that you do not have to actually prove a defense or prove your innocence. When a prosecutor can’t prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be convicted of a robbery offense. A Henrico County robbery lawyer will look for ways to keep illegally collected evidence from being used against you, to raise questions about witness testimony, and to otherwise introduce questions about whether you really committed the offense.
Calling a robbery lawyer soon after you are charged with a crime is a smart choice so you can have a legal advocate on your side. Get in touch with a Henrico County robbery lawyer for help today.