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Fairfax Criminal Defense Blog

New Law Makes Robbery Penalty Dependent on Severity of Crime

Posted by John A. Kassabian | Aug 27, 2021

Close-up of jail cell bars and lock
Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash.

Until recently, under Virginia law a person who committed robbery could face anywhere from five years to life in prison, regardless of the severity of the crime. The recent passage of HB 1936 has changed all of that, and soon the punishment for robbery will reflect the severity of the crime. If you are in need of a Fairfax theft attorney due to a robbery charge, Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. can answer your questions and tell you more about your legal rights during a free consultation. Below is a basic overview of the new penalties and how they work.

Understanding the Crime of Robbery in Virginia

Within the Commonwealth of Virginia, the penalty for the crime of robbery has consistently been between five years and life in prison. However, as of the 2021 special legislative session, all of this has changed dramatically. New amendments to VA Code 18.2-58 now designate a specific hierarchy of penalties corresponding to the severity of the robbery committed.

The new charges are as follows:

Class 2 Felony Robbery

A class 2 felony is the most serious of the new penalties, and carries a punishment of 20 years to life. Any convicted perpetrator of a robbery who causes death or serious bodily injury of the victim will face a Class 2 felony. A Class 2 felony is an incredibly serious charge, so if you find yourself facing it, it is in your best interest to contact a theft attorney in Fairfax as soon as possible. 

Class 3 Felony Robbery

Second in severity of the new punishments is the class 3 felony, which is reserved for robberies involving a firearm. Whether the firearm is used or simply displayed does not matter: anyone convicted of a class 3 felony will face 5 to 20 years in prison.

Class 5 Felony Robbery

Any robbery involving physical force or a deadly weapon that is not a firearm will be charged as a Class 5 felony, punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison. Similarly, if a robbery is committed with threat or intimidation but without a weapon, it will be charged as a class 6 felony, which is punishable by 1 to 5 years.

How Can a Fairfax Felony Attorney Help?

Felonies are serious criminal offenses that remain permanently on your record, potentially preventing you from being hired for a job, joining the military, leasing an apartment, or being accepted into college. A felony charge is also incredibly costly, and can leave those convicted facing thousands of dollars in fines, not to mention years of jail time.

That said, there are many ways a felony defense attorney can come in handy in a robbery case. First and foremost, an attorney may be able to get your sentence, fines, or punishment reduced. Working with a lawyer is one of the most impactful steps you can take, especially if you have been charged with a felony. In the case of a Class 5 or 6 felony, a lawyer may be able to get your charge reduced to a misdemeanor. Those accused of more serious felonies can also benefit from legal assistance, as a good lawyer can often significantly reduce their jail sentence.

John Kassabian of Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. has been practicing criminal law in Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun County for over 25 years, and is committed to ensuring that Northern Virginia citizens are treated fairly in the court of law. John offers free case reviews, where he can tell you more about your rights and potentially help you secure a better outcome for your case.

To speak with a felony attorney serving Fairfax, get in touch with John today at 703-750-3622.

About the Author

John A. Kassabian

John A. Kassabian joined the family firm in 2002 after having served as a Prosecutor in Fairfax County and Prince William County. Specializing in criminal defense, traffic defense and civil related matters, John has an extensive criminal law background and has handled a wide variety of cases for ...

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