Simply put, robbery is theft with the added element of taking property through force or the threat of force. Since it involves the use of force or threat of force, it's generally treated as a more serious crime than theft. While many states have their own definition of robbery, it was defined at common law as the taking of another person's property, with intent to permanently deprive them of the property, by means of force or fear.
Since Virginia robbery laws don't define the elements of the crime, it's safe to assume that robbery is defined similarly to common law. It's important to note that if a person kills someone in a "willful, deliberate, and premeditated" manner while committing a robbery or attempted robbery, it's classified as capital murder and punishable as a Class 1 felony. Additionally, if a person enters a house with intent to commit certain felonies, including robbery, they're guilty of statutory burglary, which is a Class 3 felony if they didn't have a deadly weapon and a Class 2 felony if they did.
Virginia Robbery Laws at a Glance
When researching the law, it's critical to read the actual language of a statute. Usually, however, statutes are written in "legalese" making them hard to understand. That's why it can be helpful to also read a summary of the statute in plain English. The following chart provides just that: a summary of Virginia robbery laws and links to relevant statutes.
||Virginia Code Section 18.2-58 (Robbery Punishment)
|Charges and Penalties
A person is guilty of a felony, punishable by 5 years to life in prison, if they commit a robbery by:
- Partial strangulation;
- Hitting, beating, or other violence;
- Assaulting or otherwise putting a person in fear of serious bodily harm; or
- Threatening or showing a deadly weapon (such as a gun).
Section 18.2-58.1 (Carjacking)
- Definition: intentionally taking (or taking control of) someone else's car with intent to deprive that person of possession or control of the car permanently or temporarily by the means described in the box above.
- Charges and Penalties: Carjacking is a felony punishable by 15 years to life in prison.
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.
Virginia Robbery Laws: Related Resources
For more information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links below.
Get Legal Help with Your Robbery Case in Virginia
As you can see, there's a big range of possible sentences for a robbery conviction, and the sentence you receive will largely depend on the facts of your case. If you find yourself charged with committing a robbery, or any other crime, it's a good idea to get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney who can explain how Virginia robbery laws apply to your specific situation and who can advocate on your behalf.