The Legal Beagle

The Penal Implications of Bank Robbery

Robbery is the act of stealing money or valuables from another individual or a group of individuals through force or the threat of force. Robbery is one of the many forms of theft that exist. Specifically, bank robbery is the act of stealing money or valuables from a bank through the use or threat of force.

When an individual is charged with bank robbery, he or she has the right to a fair trial and the right to work with a competent defense attorney. These rights are in place to prevent innocent individuals from being convicted and subject to the penalties that accompany a criminal conviction, such as fines and jail time. However, innocent people are charged with criminal offenses every day and if you find yourself in this situation, it is critical that you work with an experienced federal lawyer who can draw upon their knowledge and experience with bank robbery cases to defend you.

At all points in the criminal justice process, know that you have civil rights. This is the key to protecting them during an investigation and trial.

Bank Robbery: Explanation

Although many people understand that robbery is a form of theft, it can be easy to become confused and use the terms “robbery,” “burglary,” and “theft” interchangeably. Theft is a blanket term that refers to all acts of intentionally taking money or valuables from others, through either direct means or indirect means like identity fraud and online scams. Robbery refers to the act of using force or the fear of harm to take money or a valuable from a victim, and burglary refers to the act of entering a building or area of a building without permission with the intention of committing a crime while inside. Often, but not always, the crime intended to be committed during a burglary is theft.

Banks are a popular target for robberies because they contain money. According to the FBI, the average bank robber came away from his or her crime with $7,500 in 2010.

The use or threat of force is the common thread in all bank robberies. If a weapon is involved, an offense is considered to be an aggravated robbery.

Bank Robbery: Criminal Penalties

Bank robbery is a crime at both the federal and state level. In Texas, robbery is a second degree felony and can be punished by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony, which can also result in a $10,000 fine as well as a prison term of up to 99 years.

At the federal level, 18 US Code 2113 specifically discusses bank robbery. Under this statute, any individual who is found guilty of robbing or attempting to rob a bank can face up to 20 years in prison as well as a significant fine. Receiving, concealing, or otherwise accepting money or valuables taken from a bank is punishable by 10 years in prison, and when a weapon is used or a threat of weapon use is made during a bank robbery, the defendant can face up to 25 years in prison. This includes the use of a toy weapon. If a victim dies as a result of the defendant’s actions during a robbery, the defendant can face life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Because a robbery can involve multiple actions, an individual can face multiple charges. For example, an individual might face an assault or murder charge alongside his or her robbery charge. These, as well as factors like the individual’s criminal history and the amount of money stolen through the robbery, are used in determining a convicted defendant’s sentence.

Bank Heist: Defending You in Court

Robbery and other theft charges can be complicated. If you have been charged with bank robbery, be proactive and start working with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to create a strong defense for your case. A criminal charge is not the same as a criminal conviction – with the right defense strategy, you can prove your innocence. Further, even if you are found guilty, you can potentially have your charge lowered to one with lesser penalties.

To learn more about your rights and legal options, contact an experienced bank robbery attorneys like former United States prosecutor Amber R. Spurlock who is equipped to determine the best legal strategy for your unique case.