Fairfax Robbery Lawyer
Robbery is a very serious crime in Virginia. Robbery is always charged as a felony, and anyone facing a robbery charge has a strong chance of winding up in prison. When facing violent felony charges, the Commonwealth will seek the harshest punishments available and fight tooth and nail to send you to prison for as long as they can. You deserve a Fairfax robbery lawyer who can take on the Commonwealth’s attorney and vigorously fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
The Crime of Robbery Explained by a Fairfax Robbery Lawyer
In its simplest terms, robbery is the taking of property from another person through the use of force or the threat of force. While the level of force and the severity of the threat can vary, many robbery charges often involve situations where only a minimal amount of force was used. Nevertheless, robbery is a felony and it is aggressively prosecuted.
Under Virginia law, you must carry out one of the following acts in order to be charged with robbery:
- Use any sort of violence
- Hit the victim
- Strangle or suffocate the victim
- Place the victim in fear of serious harm
- Threaten to use a deadly weapon
- Presenting (pointing) a deadly weapon at the victim
It does not matter if you did not actually harm the victim, simply threatening them and placing them in fear is enough to support a robbery charge. Yet, if you did not engage in any of the foregoing actions, you cannot be convicted of robbery. As discussed below, there are a lot of potential robbery defenses that your Fairfax robbery lawyer can assert on your behalf.
Defenses to Robbery
The following are just a few of the defenses your Fairfax robbery lawyer can use to help you fight robbery charges:
Lack of Force
Most of the time, thefts such as shoplifting do not actually involve any force. Additionally, there are cases where a “victim” believes that a person is threatening them based solely on how they look – even though this person may not have said or done anything to indicate that they were threatening. The Commonwealth has the burden to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, if they cannot prove that there was use of force, or a threat of force, then there cannot possibly be a robbery. Instead, the Commonwealth would be relegated to charging the person with a relatively minor crime like petit larceny.
The lack of force defense is especially relevant in situations where a shoplifter is caught by store security and struggles to get away. As a Fairfax robbery lawyer, I can tell you that even the slightest push or physical contact can be enough to file felony robbery charges in what would otherwise be a simple petit larceny. But if all the suspect did was struggle to escape by wiggling out of the grips of store security, then a lack of force defense may leave the Commonwealth no choice but to drop the charges to larceny.
Cases of mistaken identity testimony account for more wrongful convictions than any other kind of evidence. Juries tend to believe witnesses who identify the defendant as the perpetrator of the crime. But the reality is that most people vastly underestimate the natural human propensity to incorrectly recall what someone looks like. Although eyewitness identifications are unreliable to begin with, they become infinitely more unreliable when masks/hats/sunglasses are involved or if issues such as suggestive identifications come into play. Witnesses are typically asked to make their identification of a suspect in court while that suspect is handcuffed in jail clothes or at a line-up of people who look nothing like the described perpetrator. These sorts of issues can only be fleshed out by a good attorney with a deep understanding of expert witnesses and lineup motions and strong cross-examination skills.
Technically speaking, almost all criminal accusations can be based on false or mistaken allegations. Robbery accusations can be completely false if the alleged victim harbors some manner of bias or resentment against the accused. Through investigation, skillful cross-examination, and persuasive argument, a good Fairfax robbery lawyer can expose false accusations and create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury.
Fairfax Carjacking Attorney
Carjacking falls under Virginia Code § 18.2-58.1 and is akin to robbery, but instead of the taking of property through force, it is defined as the taking of a vehicle through force or fear while the owner is in immediate possession of the vehicle. The offense is considered a carjacking regardless of whether the defendant intended to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the vehicle. In other words, so long as there is a taking that involves violence, it will be classified as carjacking.
It is important to note that carjacking can be charged individually along with any other criminal offense committed during the carjacking. Thus, the Commonwealth will file additional charges if someone is injured, a firearm is used, or if the driver or other occupant is kidnapped during the carjacking. Some of the defenses your Fairfax carjacking attorney can assert on your behalf include: mistaken identity, false accusations, lack of force/fear, Fourth Amendment challenges, and Fifth Amendment (Miranda Rights) challenges to confessions.
Penalties for Robbery and Carjacking
Pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-58, a robbery conviction carries a sentence of anywhere between five years to life imprisonment with the mandatory minimum being five years.
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-58.1, carjacking is considered a much more serious crime and its sentencing guidelines are reflective of that. If a person is convicted of carjacking, they face a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. There is mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
Contact a Fairfax Carjacking Attorney Today
Given the severity of Virginia’s sentencing guidelines for robbery, you will want to hire an aggressive and skillful Fairfax robbery lawyer to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Call the Law Offices of Randall Sousa today for a free consultation with a Fairfax robbery lawyer. You have rights, you have defenses, and you deserve a criminal defense attorney who will take an aggressive, yet meticulous approach when fighting for your interests. 571-354-6164
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By: Randall Sousa
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The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with affordable, professional, and aggressive criminal defense legal services. If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, call us now for a Free Consultation.
Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.
Law Offices of Randall Sousa
3007 Williams Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031