Bank Robbery is the taking of property or money by force and violence or by intimidation from a bank, credit union or any savings and loan association. Bank Robberies are most often charged in federal court if it involves a federally insured financial institution. Most banks are federally insured.
Bank robberies which involve two or more people can be and usually will be charged as conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Conspiracy requires that two or more people agree to commit a certain crime and that steps are taken in furtherance of that crime. In other words, something is done to carry out the plan. In a conspiracy different people may play different rolls in the bank robbery but they will all be charged with the same offense.
Most banks or financial lending institutions have video cameras. Bank tellers are trained to use “dye-packs” which release dye onto any money given to a robber. These two factors lead to most arrests in bank robbery cases. Witnesses will also identify robbers or getaway cars and sometimes even follow them until the police arrive.
A bank robbery with the use of a note is considered to meet the requirement that fear or force was used. Most tellers will testify that upon receiving the note that instructed them to give them robber the money that they feared for their lives, even if no gun was displayed.
Eyewitness Identifications are often used in bank robbery prosecutions. There are many problems with eyewitness identification and an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to attack an eyewitness ID in court either with the use of an expert or with common sense. Law enforcement officers have been known to use “suggestive line-ups” which can also be attacked by an experienced attorney by way of a motion to suppress the identification due to its suggestive nature. For instance, a photographic “line-up” will consist of 6 photographs laid out on one piece of 8 ½ by 11 paper. It’s commonly referred to as a “six-pack”. If one of the photographs is stands out for any reason, either the color of the background is different, the person is wearing a different colored top than the others, the person has hair while the others don’t, that can be deemed a “suggestive line-up” and the identification resulting from that line-up would be thrown out.
Punishment for bank robbery varies depending on many factors. The most important factor at sentencing is the amount of money taken from the bank. The court will also consider the number of victims and whether firearms were used. The use of a toy gun can be punished as if it were a real firearm if the victim believed it was real. The court must also consider the individuals criminal history and background in determining the appropriate sentence.
You must have an experienced federal criminal defense attorney when facing bank robbery charges. The procedures and the players in federal court are completely different from state court. An experienced federal attorney can assist you in obtaining bail, trial, plea bargaining and sentencing. Ms. Bass has extensive experience with these cases and has obtained excellent results for her clients.
Armed Robbery is the unlawful taking of property from another with the use of a firearm. Possession of a firearm during the commission of a bank robbery will add a minimum of five years to the sentence.