Is Bank Robbery Always a Federal Crime?

 Posted on February 07, 2020 in Federal Crimes

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerSometimes, people find themselves in such a bad situation that they become desperate. That was likely the case in late January when a man, believed to be between 20 and 30 years old, entered the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union in the Salmon Creek Albertsons in Washington. After approaching the teller he handed her a note demanding cash and after receiving it, he left. Police are still asking for help in locating the suspect who will likely face charges of bank robbery if caught. The bank robbed in the recent story was a federal credit union, so it makes sense that it would be considered a federal offense. However, are all bank robberies considered a federal crime? The answer is yes, and a conviction comes with harsh consequences.

How is Bank Robbery Defined in the Federal Code?

Bank robbery is covered under 18 USC 2113. This section of the United States Code defines bank robbery as stealing or attempting to steal cash or property of any value that belongs to a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association.

A person does not have to walk into a bank to be charged with bank robbery, but they must take the property from a bank. For example, taking money from an armored truck, a night depository, or a bank machine is considered bank robbery. If a person threatened another person to withdraw money from a bank machine and give it to them, that would also be considered bank robbery. However, if a person had already withdrawn money and was then robbed, that would likely be considered a state robbery crime and not a federal bank robbery.

Penalties for Bank Robbery

Individuals convicted of federal bank robbery could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, or both. These penalties could increase if any person’s life was jeopardized during the course of the robbery, or if another person was killed or abducted as a result of the crime.

Defenses to Bank Robbery

A solid defense is crucial when facing bank robbery charges, and there are several available. To secure a conviction for bank robbery, the prosecution must prove that a person used force, intimidation, or violence when stealing from a bank. Disproving either of these points can provide a strong defense. Like with any other crime, the defense of mistaken identity is also useful when facing bank robbery charges. Often the only visual law enforcement has is video surveillance, which is not always clear. It is sometimes easy to mistake one person for another when relying on this evidence alone.

Facing Charges? Call Our Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested and charged with a federal offense, you do not have to face it alone. Our skilled Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel can help. We have the necessary experience to protect your rights, create a strong defense for your case, and give you the best chance of beating the charges. Call us today at 312-629-0669 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.


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