New York Federal Bank Robbery Lawyer
Despite complex surveillance systems, alarm buzzers, and automatically locking safes, bank robberies continue to occur within cities and towns throughout the United States with shocking frequency – with over 4,000 federal bank robbery cases brought in 2015 by the Department of Justice.
To be sure, however, the federal charge of bank robbery is extremely serious, with convictions carrying a sentence of up to life imprisonment, or even the death penalty under certain circumstances. For this reason, it is imperative that one charged with this serious crime immediately retain a skilled New York federal bank robbery lawyer to fight on their behalf. Our attorneys are ready to advocate for you.
Statute Defining Bank Robbery
According to 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), whoever takes or attempts to take any property, money, something of value in the care, custody or control of a bank, credit union, or savings and loan by use of force, violence, intimidation or extortion may face robbery charges. The federal bank robbery statute does not only apply to offenses committed inside a financial situation, such as a credit union or bank. For example, robbing an ATM can open someone up to federal bank robbery charges and the resulting penalties for such offenses.
Not every bank, credit union, or savings and loan qualifies under this statute. The bank subject to any robbery or theft must either be a member of the Federal Reserve System, organized or operating under the laws of the United States, or where the deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. 18 U.S.C. §2113(f).
Likewise, should a credit union be the subject of a robbery, it must a federal or state-chartered credit union, with accounts insured by the National Credit Union Administration Board. 18 U.S.C. §2113(g). And for a savings and loan to apply under this statute, the institution’s deposits must be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. 18 U.S.C. §2113(h). Should these provisions not apply, the bank robbery at issue cannot be charged in federal court, and instead, is more properly the subject of a state prosecution.
What are the Federal Penalties for Robbing a Bank?
If someone enters a bank, credit union or savings and loan with the intent to commit any felony affecting such financial institution, or commit any larceny, shall be imprisoned by up to 20 years.
Additionally, pursuant to §2113(b), whoever steals any property or money valued at greater than $1,000 under the care, custody or control of a bank, credit union, or savings and loan may receive a punishment of up to ten years imprisonment, or up to one year imprisonment if the money or property at issue is valued at less than $1,000. If during the commission of either of these crimes, the defendant assaults any person, or puts such person’s life in jeopardy by the use of a dangerous weapon or device, the maximum term of imprisonment is increased to 25 years. Notably, this enhancement may be applied even where a toy gun or “hoax” bomb is used in the robbery. See United States v. Hernandez, 232 Fed. App’x 561, 567 (6th Cir. 2007).
Further, 18 U.S.C. §2113(c) makes it a crime to knowingly receive, possess, conceal, sell, or dispose any property or money that has been stolen from a bank, credit union or savings and loan. As with §2113(b), a conviction in a case where more than $1,000 in money or property is at issue may result in a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment – or up to one year imprisonment where less than $1,000 in money or property is stolen. In the case of a conspiracy to violate §2113(c), the knowledge that the money or property at issue is stolen cannot be imputed from one conspirator to another – it must be established independently for each defendant by the government. United States v. Tavoularis, 515 F.2d 1070, 1074 (2d Cir. 1975).
Most seriously, whoever kills or forcibly abducts another person in the commission of any conduct proscribed by 18 U.S.C. §2113, or while avoiding or attempting to avoid apprehension for the same, or in freeing himself or attempting to free himself from arrest or confinement for such offense, shall be imprisoned by a minimum of ten years – and if the death of another results, by life imprisonment or the death penalty. 18 U.S.C. §2113(e). An attorney in New York could help someone mitigate the potential consequences in their federal bank robbery case.
What Are the Sentencing Guidelines in Federal Bank Robbery Cases?
Federal judges use a variety of parameters as established by the United States Sentencing Commission to determine the legal punishments for a federal bank robbery charge. This sentencing structure classifies crimes into different categories, which are determined by the gravity of the crime and the criminal past, of the accused, if any.
There are 43 crime categories, and the magnitude of the sentence imposed increases with each category. If the alleged offender has no criminal history and no other charges alongside the bank robbery charge, they may face a shorter prison term than someone who committed this crime with the use of a deadly weapon. The statutory deadline to charge someone with federal bank robbery is five years from the date of the alleged offense. This means that if more than five years has passed since the alleged act occurred, charges of a federal nature may not be leveled.
What Defenses Can be Used Against a Federal Bank Robbery Charge?
There are a range of offenses that may be raised to fight back against a federal bank robbery charge. A common defense is that the accused has been mistaken for someone else who committed the robbery. If the prosecution cannot establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, the court cannot convict the accused. Sometimes, the accused may be able to achieve a reduction or mitigation of their sentence by asserting that no threats or brutality where used in the committal of the alleged offense. A New York federal defense attorney could help an accused individual build their bank robbery case.
Get in Touch with a Skilled New York Federal Bank Robbery Attorney
Contacting a skilled New York federal bank robbery lawyer to defend you in any prosecution is crucial and will ensure that every viable defense is explored and utilized on your behalf. Our firm has successfully handled countless federal cases, exploiting holes in the prosecution’s evidence to achieve a fair outcome. Call today to schedule your case consultation.