The Federal Charge of Bank Robbery
Bank robberies are a common occurrence in the media outlets of South Florida. Each week, a new report appears about a bank hold-up and the search for suspects. While these incidents may conjure up thoughts of movie scenes and old gangster films, a bank robbery charge is a serious offense carrying significant penalties. Some recent bank robbery newsmakers include:
- In May of this year, an NBC affiliate reported about five bank robberies occurring within a 24-hour time frame. In each incident, the accused individual implied possession of a weapon and handed the teller a note demanding money. The total taken amounts were not disclosed and no one was hurt during the incidents.
- In August, two Broward County bank robberies occurred within a five-hour period. According to com, the accused brandished a weapon upon approaching the teller and demanded money. Authorities did not disclose the amount of money taken and, again, no one was injured.
- Just recently, law enforcement agencies asked the public for assistance in locating a man accused in a Flagler County bank robbery. As reported by a Massachusetts news outlet, the individual allegedly walked into the bank and demanded large bills. He then fled in a vehicle allegedly driven by a woman. The couple is believed to have traveled from Massachusetts, where they are also reportedly wanted in connection with a bank robbery.
The Crime of Bank Robbery
The Florida statute defines the crime of robbery as the “taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.”
When the target of the taking is a banking institution, the charge of bank robbery may apply. Banking institutions are generally state and federal establishments that operate under the Federal Reserve System, including credit unions, banks and saving and loan associations. This connection brings bank robbery under the jurisdiction of the federal authorities and the cases are often prosecuted in federal court. The possible penalties for the offense vary, depending on the amount of money involved. In addition, the accused may face enhancement charges that lengthen the possible punishment. These may include:
- Use of a dangerous weapon during the robbery;
- Injury to another during the robbery; and
- Death of another during the robbery.
Defending the Crime
The severity of a federal conviction and the possible penalties involve make it vitally important that you secure the services of an experienced lawyer when faced with bank robbery charges. A capable lawyer may keep the case out of federal court and have it tried in state court, where the penalties may not prove as severe. Additionally, your lawyer may argue that you were mistakenly identified as the perpetrator, or that you acted under duress from a third party.
If you are facing bank robbery charges, contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC to explore your options. Call today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation in Miami.