Robbery has to be a permanent taking of property; it has to be from another person. There can be serious consequences if someone is convicted. It is important to find a robbery lawyer who is local, who knows that jurisdiction in and out, knows the Commonwealth attorneys, knows the judges really well, and is able to predict the outcome of the trial based on the fact of the case. The defense lawyer needs to try to get the facts straight and understand what exactly happened if they are building a Virginia robbery defense.
First, an attorney will try to understand what is happening, what are the facts, what are the circumstances, are there any possible witnesses, and is there any possible video footage or any recording of the fact that took place. The attorney will try to evaluate if there’s any defense to be made and will try to prepare for a trial or preliminary hearing in Virginia.
The second thing a robbery attorney will do is prepare for the first court date, the preliminary hearing in general district court and the trial in circuit court. The defense will need evidence, a list of witnesses, subpoena any video or audio footage, and find any expert testimonies. If an attorney finds witnesses, they may try to contact those witnesses ahead of time, hear what they have to say, and ask them to be available on the day of court.
Thirdly, the attorney would try to prepare the defendant himself in regards to whether or not he will testify at the preliminary hearing, whether or not it’s advisable to do that, and whether or not it’s more advisable to take a plea deal. In that situation, the attorney will try to predict the kinds of offers or plea deals that could be reached and will discuss the pros and cons of each one and how they would affect the defendant personally in that situation.
Evidence could include witnesses to the incident, any physical evidence that could be gathered, video footage, audio tapes, text messages, any expert witnesses that could be of use, in that case, the testimony of the defendant, and favorable witness to the defense. In cases where there is physical evidence like a videotape or an audiotape, the attorney is probably going to send a preservation letter asking that entity to preserve the video footage on their behalf, and they would follow that up with the subpoena duces tecum in order to get those things physically in the attorney’s hands.
There are several scenarios in which an attorney might encourage the person to take a plea deal. In a scenario in which the facts of the case might show that the Commonwealth attorney is going to be able to carry their burden and is going to be able to prove their case, the prosecutor may offer the defendant a plea deal. In that circumstance, it might be wise to avoid trial and take the plea deal. If the stakes are high and the defendant has a job that would be heavily impacted with a conviction like a robbery or there are any immigration consequences for a felony conviction, an attorney might advise the defendant to take the plea deal.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law