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Va General Assembly: Proposed Bill to Re-Classify Robbery & Penalties

Jan 15, 2021 | Criminal Law

Among the new bills being considered in the General Assembly this year is a bill to change how Robbery is treated by the Virginia Code, HB 1936.

Currently, Robbery is not defined in the Code, Section 18.2-58. It is a single, unclassified felony with a sentencing range of 5 years to Life.

This new bill makes several changes. First it includes an explicit definition of Robbery as:

“the taking, with the intent to steal, of the personal property of another, from his person or his presence, against his will, by violence or intimidation.”

While Robbery would still be a felony, it will no longer be a single unclassified felony with a sentence of 5 years to life. Now, the classification and corresponding punishment relate to the details of the charge.

First Degree

If the allegations involve serious bodily harm to the victim, then the charge would be First Degree Robbery. The maximum sentence would be still Life, but with no mandatory minimum.

Second Degree

If the allegations involve the use of a firearm, including brandishing, the charge would be Second Degree Robbery. The maximum sentence would be 20 years, also with no mandatory minimum.

Third Degree

If the allegations involve force, but not serious injury, or the display of a weapon other than a firearm, the charge would be Third Degree Robbery. This would be a Class 5 Felony, punishable by up to 10 years.

Fourth Degree

If the allegations involve only threats or intimidation, the charge would be Fourth Degree Robbery. This would be a Class 6 Felony, punishable by up to 5 years.

These changes, if passed and enacted, would be a important change in the criminal law of Virginia. This new structure of how Robbery is charged would dramatically effect how you or your attorney should approach your case, and how to negotiate with the Commonwealth, if appropriate.

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NOTE: This bill is not current law and has not passed. It is under consideration in the 2021 General Assembly Session. The current Virginia Robbery law reads in full:

If any person commit robbery by partial strangulation, or suffocation, or by striking or beating, or by other violence to the person, or by assault or otherwise putting a person in fear of serious bodily harm, or by the threat or presenting of firearms, or other deadly weapon or instrumentality whatsoever, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in a state correctional facility for life or any term not less than five years.

Va Code 18.2-58

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