If facing robbery charges in Virginia, it is important that you know what to expect from both the investigation and the court process so that you can build the strongest possible defense. For this reason, the following are frequently asked questions on robbery charges answered by a Virginia robbery lawyer. To discuss your case schedule a consultation today.
Depending on the jurisdiction, local and state investigatory agencies are typically involved. These may be local police and sheriff’s departments as well as the Virginia State Police. The State Police will almost always be involved if the robbery involves a use of a firearm or firearms are stolen. In addition, in the most serious cases, federal agencies such as the ATF and DEA may be involved in firearm and drug cases, respectively.
Robbery cases are certainly cases that are very big deal in the local Commonwealth Attorney’s office. They are often front page news, generating a lot of media attention relative to other types of charges typically prosecuted. Oftentimes you have very serious victims in these cases, businesses are involved, the community is terrorized and the Commonwealth Attorney’s office responds very aggressively in this scenarios.
If the accused is “caught in the act” that decision may be made by the arresting officer at the time of the offense. More commonly, however, it is by a magistrate after hearing the criminal complaint from law enforcement or the Commonwealth Attorney prosecuting the case after participating in the investigation and reviewing the evidence.
In a robbery case, the prosecution needs to prove all of the standard larceny offenses, but also the one of the particular scenarios of violence as defined in Virginia Code Section 18.2-58.
Typically the prosecution’s going to use similar evidence they would in a larceny case. They are going to use eyewitness testimony, victim testimony, surveillance video if it’s available, audio tape if it’s available, testimony of any potential co-defendants as well as any statements that the accused made.
Many times the alleged robbery may have been committed in concert with a co-defendant so statements by any co-defendants may be an issue undermining the actual factual account of what happened. Analyzing the evidence from all angles is very important in these matters.
It is not uncommon that robbery charges arise from a situation where the victim is not necessarily a person without blame or the victim may be an unsavory character. Potentially casting the victim’s role may be an issue, though not in all cases. As an example, robbery may arise from the context of drug deals gone bad or various activities gone bad and when that happens important to investigate the character and involvement of the victim.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law