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Robbing a bank may sound like an old-fashioned crime or part of a Hollywood movie plot, but bank robbery is still a problem that continues to take a toll on communities across the nation. Bank robbery is one of the most severe criminal offenses a person can be charged with and can lead to years in prison and substantial fines.
What is Bank Robbery?
The law distinguishes between robbery, bank robbery, and burglary.
- Robbery is the physical, unlawful taking or attempted taking of another person’s property through the use of threat or force. This usually involves possessing, using, or threatening to use a dangerous weapon, and at least one victim must be present at the time of the robbery.
- Bank robbery is defined as the taking or attempting to take anything of value from a bank, credit union, or related financial institution. The act occurs inside the institution, using force, threats, intimidation, or violence against at least one victim present.
- Burglary is slightly different from robbing a bank in that the theft occurs when no one is present at the institution.
Federal Bank Robbery History
Back in 1934, it became a federal crime to rob any national or state member bank of the Federal Reserve System, with the law soon after expanding to cover bank burglary, larceny, and other acts. For several decades, the FBI had a significant role in investigating federal bank robbery cases. Today, the FBI focuses on suspects that pose the most severe safety threat to the general public while assisting state and local law enforcement in the investigation of bank robberies. The collaborative nature of federal bank crime prosecutions raises the stakes for the defendant. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is critical to the outcome of the case.
Bank Robbery Laws
Bank robbery laws are harsher than prevailing robbery laws. While North Carolina has regulations regarding robbery, when a robbery is linked to a federal institution, it’s considered a federal offense. The majority of banks and credit unions are federally insured, meaning that almost all bank robberies are considered federal crimes.
Bank robbery is outlined as a federal offense in Title 18, section 2113 of the U.S. Code. Additionally, in North Carolina, several charges are associated with bank robbery, all of which can incur severe penalties:
- Armed robbery
- Common Law Robbery
Bank Robbery Penalties
The penalties for bank robbery vary but are typically based on the value of the money and property taken. At a minimum, individuals found guilty of bank robbery will face fines and imprisonment ranging from 1 to 10 years. If a deadly weapon was involved or anyone was harmed or threatened, the individual can face additional charges and up to 25 years in prison. If anyone dies as a result of a bank robbery, the individual can face life in prison or even the death penalty.
Contact Us Today
The lawyers at Dysart Willis understand the laws concerning bank robbery and the evidence that can be used against you. Our experienced legal counsel is available to represent your interests and to make sure your rights are protected. If you’ve been accused of a bank robbery, we can help. Contact us by calling 919-747-8380 or contacting us online to schedule an initial consultation.