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Robbery Charges in Virginia

Experienced Attorneys Ready to Fight for You

In Virginia, the crime of robbery is a very serious offense, classified as a felony and punishable by imprisonment from 5 years to life. Aside from potentially receiving a harsh prison sentence, a conviction for robbery may comes with a felony record, active probation, difficulty passing background checks and gaining employment, obtaining a security clearance, and deportation for non-citizens.

Because of the seriousness of a robbery charge, it is critical to seek immediate counsel and representation from an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney. At Krum Gergely & Oates, we are Virginia attorneys with the courtroom experience to fight your robbery case and aggressively defend your freedom and innocence in front of a jury or judge. The right attorney will increase your ability to fight and beat the charges, avoid a felony conviction, and reduce the potentially severe consequences that come with a robbery conviction.

Elements of Robbery:

1. The taking of property

2. That belongs to another person

3. In their presence

4. Against their will

5. With the use of force or intimidation

In order to be convicted of robbery, all five of those elements must be present simultaneously. A robbery is essentially a theft that is accomplished by the use of force or intimidation. Although it seems fairly simple on its face, a robbery can occur under multiple different scenarios:

Armed Robbery

An armed robbery is a robbery that includes the use of a weapon. This can be a gun, knife, or any object that is used to show a threat of force or intimidation. The use of a weapon in a robbery often leads to an additional felony charge, which could add three-years of mandatory minimum time on top of any sentence for robbery.


Carjacking is a form of robbery that involves the unlawful taking or stealing an automobile through the use of force. A weapon is not necessary to commit a carjacking. A mere showing of force through threat or intimidation is enough. Carjacking is severely punished in Virginia, with a range of punishment of 15 years to life imprisonment.

Strong-Arm Robbery

A strong-arm robbery is a form of robbery that often does not involve a weapon, or even verbally threatening the victim. It can be accomplished by a defendant presenting him or herself in a menacing way that implies a threat, or harm, to the victim if they do not hand over their property.

Whether it is reasonable to believe that a show of intimidation is actually a threat is highly subjective. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to challenge whether actions are actually a show of force, or whether those actions were misinterpreted as a threat by the victim.

Use of Force or Intimidation – What Does it Mean?

The element that separates a theft offense from a robbery is the use of force or intimidation. Robbery is punished so much more severely than theft because of the additional element of violence, force, or intimidation.

But what does the use of force or intimidation actually mean?

Most of the time, the answer to this question is obvious. Pointing a gun at a store clerk, using a knife to get someone’s wallet in a dark alley, or punching someone in the mouth to take their watch – those are all obvious examples of force and violence.

However, the less obvious cases are strong for areas for challenge at trial for a Virginia robbery defense lawyer. Implied threats are highly subjective, and a victim’s believe that they are being threatened may not be reasonable, or true at all. If there was no threat at all, or the victim unreasonably believed there was a threat, then there cannot be a robbery.

Mistaken and Improper Identification – Robbery

Mistaken Identity – a common defense to robbery is challenging the victim’s ability to correctly identify the person who committed the robbery. If the robbery happens in poor lighting, or the suspect is wearing a mask or other clothing covering his face, a suspect can be difficult to identify. Police can use persuasive tactics to improperly influence a victim into identifying the suspect they want, rather than identifying someone based on their actual memory. A criminal attorney experienced in challenging improper out-of-court identification techniques used by police is critical in fighting any robbery charge.

Virginia criminal attorneys Jonathan R. Oates and Kallie Crawford have successfully defended and represented clients facing robbery charges in Virginia. Each case was very different, requiring a unique strategy and outlook. Your case and your situation is no different. You need and deserve a top rated defense. We can help.

Call 703-988-3711 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation about your Virginia robbery case to learn how we can help.

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