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District of Columbia Robbery Laws

Most jurisdictions have their own definition of robbery, and ones that don't specifically define it follow the common law definition. Robbery is distinguished from theft because it's done in the presence of the victim, usually with the use or threat of violence. Since a robbery usually involves some degree of violence, it's punished more harshly than theft. In the District of Columbia, the chapter that addresses robbery, also includes statutes that criminalize attempted robbery and carjacking.

Defining Carjacking

A crime closely related to robbery is carjacking, with is basically the robbery of a car. In D.C. carjacking is defined as knowingly or recklessly, by force or violence, taking immediate actual possession of a person's car. Carjacking is punishable by a mandatory minimum prison term of seven years and a maximum of 21 years. If the carjacking occurs while the person is armed or has a dangerous weapon readily available, then the mandatory minimum prison term of 15 years and a maximum of 40 years. Penalties can also include fines as set forth in Section 22-3571.01.

Summary of District of Columbia Robbery Laws

An important step when conducting legal research is to read the actual language of the law, but this can be a daunting task because laws are usually written in "legalese." For this reason, it can be helpful to read a summary of the law beforehand. In the chart that follows, you can find a summary of robbery laws in the District of Columbia along with links to relevant statutes.


District of Columbia Code Division IV. Title 22, Subtitle I. Chapter 28:

Defining the Offense

Robbery: Taking anything of value from the person of another whether by force, violence, fear, or sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching.

Attempt to commit robbery: Performing an overt act to commit a robbery (as described above).


Robbery is punishable by 2 to 15 years in prison.

Attempt to commit robbery is punishable by up to 3 years in prison.

Note: A conviction of robbery or attempt to commit robbery may also be punished by fines set forth in Section 22-3571.01.

Related Statute(s)

District of Columbia Code Division IV. Title 22, Subtitle I. Chapter 32:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

District of Columbia Robbery Laws: Related Resources

If you're looking for additional information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links listed below.

Charged with Robbery in the District of Columbia? Get Legal Help

As you can see, robbery is classified as a serious crime in the District of Columbia. In fact, even attempted robbery can result in prison time. If you've been charged with violating District of Columbia robbery laws, it's in your best interest to contact a local criminal defense attorney who can provide you with effective legal advice based on the specific facts of your case.

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