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Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Explains: Robbery in Virginia

Robbery is a common law felony in Virginia.  It is punishable by up to Life in prison or any term not less than 5 years.

The elements of robbery are:

  • taking property from the person of another or from their presence
  • with the intent to steal
  • against their will
  • through the use of violence, threat, or intimidation.

It is not necessary for the victim of the robbery to be the owner of the property.  It is enough that they have a superior possessory interest.  This means if you enter a convenience store, brandish a firearm at the clerk, and take a case of beer you have committed a robbery.  It does not matter if the store clerk personally owned the beer - they have a superior possessory interest over all customers until the beer is lawfully purchased.  And it does not matter the beer was not on the person of the clerk, for the clerk has constructive possession of all of the goods in the store.

Juveniles often find themselves in trouble for robbery.  A pretty common fact pattern involves knocking down a fellow teen in order to steal their phone, or shoes.  This may not seem like a big deal to a 16 year old, but a conviction for a crime such as robbery can impact the rest of their entire life, in a very negative way.  Even for adults, a minor shoplifting offense can quickly escalate into a robbery if violence or intimidation plays a role.

In 1993, the Virginia General Assembly decided to enhance the punishment one receives when a robbery involves taking a car.  Therefore, carjacking in Virginia is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to Life or any term not less than 15 years.

To read more about Violent Crimes, click here.  

When knowledge, skill and experience matter most to you, trust in a seasoned criminal trial attorney.  If you are in need of representation, Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney George Freeman will gladly meet with you to discuss your case.  

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