Bank robbery is a federal crime due to the connections between the federal government and financial institutions. A bank robbery that involves stolen property valued about $100 calls for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine. If a bank robbery causes a death, then the accused could potentially face life in prison or even the death penalty. Suspects in the area of Naples, Florida, charged with bank robbery can ask Joffe Law, P.A. to manage their defense. Our firm has been representing federal criminal defendants for over 30 years. Representation from a Naples bank robbery attorney could curtail serious consequences and promote fair treatment in accordance with a defendant’s Constitutional rights.
Definition of bank robbery
U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2113 labels as bank robbery the taking or attempted taking of property, money or other valuables from a bank, credit union or savings and loan association through use of force, intimidation or extortion. Although some bank robberies are committed by unarmed individuals, the incidents still relied on the threat of violence. Individuals found in the possession of money known to be recently stolen from a bank may also be charged with bank robbery. Additional sentencing could occur to a convicted person under Subsection (e) of Section 2113 if the individual attempted to avoid arrest or tried to escape after arrest for bank robbery.
Bank robbery examples
Although a gunman threatening a bank teller is the classic portrayal of a bank robbery, the offense can actually occur in a number of ways. Some common examples are:
- Instead of showing a weapon, a robber gives a teller a note to indicate a weapon will be used unless the person complies with demands.
- An attack on an armored car qualifies as a bank robbery because the service is involved in bank operations.
- A person threatens a bank employee to access cash in an ATM.
- A person assaults or threatens a bank customer at an ATM and takes the person’s money.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Bank robbery defenses
Surveillance cameras and marked money can appear to make a solid case against a suspect. However, each criminal case has unique aspects, and a defense attorney looks for any weakness in the federal government’s evidence. For example, mistaken identity might be a valid defense argument. Grainy surveillance video could support the argument that it does not really portray the defendant. Similarly, eyewitness testimony is known to be unreliable. As with any criminal case, an alibi for a defendant can create substantial doubt.
In some cases, other strategies may be appropriate although they have a lower chance of succeeding compared to an alibi or mistaken identity. Proving that a defendant was intoxicated during the commission of the crime may enable a reduction of charges. A defense strategy that argues that the defendant was acting under duress may be feasible. To take this direction, evidence about a third party who threatened and forced the person to rob a bank will be needed.
Due to the possible delicacy of any given defense strategy, defendants serve themselves well when they do not make statements to authorities when arrested. The advice and guidance of a federal criminal defense attorney should always be sought before answering questions or entering a plea in court.
Do not face the criminal justice system alone
Prosecutors want results, which they measure in terms of people sent to prison. To turn around a case quickly, the federal government might offer a plea deal to a defendant. Even if a plea bargain represents a better decision than standing trial, its terms should be evaluated by a defense attorney who cares about your best interests. Unclear evidence or the absence of violent acts could open the door to reducing charges or negotiating a lighter penalty. The team at Joffe Law, P.A. urges anyone accused of bank robbery to seek an unbiased legal opinion before entering any agreement with a prosecutor. Contact our office today.
FAQs: Bank Robbery
What is the difference between bank robbery and bank fraud?
The definition of bank robbery under federal law includes the phrase “taking or attempted taking by force, intimidation, or extortion.” This characteristic provides the primary distinction between the offenses. Bank robbery is an overt act involving threats or use of force. On the other hand, bank fraud is typically a subtle act committed through a scheme or deception to unlawfully acquire funds or property.
Are all bank robberies prosecuted as federal crimes?
Thanks to John Dillinger, bank robbery became classified as a federal crime in 1934. The FBI has responsibility for investigating bank robberies. However, the bureau leaves many cases in the hands of local authorities unless suspects have been especially violent or working across multiple jurisdictions. Florida has state criminal statutes that make bank robbery a first or second-degree felony. State sentencing guidelines are substantial with maximum prison terms of 30 years and a fine up to $10,000.
Is there a statute of limitations for bank robbery?
Federal law sets the statute of limitations at 5 years for bank robberies. After the passage of that amount of time, prosecution cannot proceed. As for the state-level crime, Florida has a 4-year statute of limitations for bank robbery. However, time spent as a fugitive may subtract time from the clock and enable prosecution beyond the statutory limitations.