Per DC Code §22–2801, “whoever by force or violence, whether against resistance or by sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching, or by putting in fear, shall take from the person or immediate actual possession of another anything of value, is guilty of robbery.”
The first element of the crime — “by force or violence, whether against resistance or by sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching, or by putting in fear”—essentially covers the crime of assault. Despite the usual image of a brutal beating, assault does not have to involve physical contact. Threatening words or an aggressive demeanor that cause a person to fear for their safety can constitute assault, as reflected in “by putting in fear.”
The second element of the crime — “take from the person or immediate actual possession or another anything or value”—essentially covers the crime of theft.
Simply put, the crime of robbery can be thought of as “assault and theft”—two crimes combined into one larger, more serious crime when committed together. Since it is a combination of two crimes, it is also punished harder than either alone. While assault or theft in DC—when committed separately—can be misdemeanor offenses depending on the circumstances, robbery is a felony offense in the District of Columbia.
A robbery conviction in Washington, DC carries a minimum sentence of 2 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. You may also have to pay an additional fine of up to $37,500.
A conviction for attempted robbery in Washington, DC carries a penalty of up to 3 years in prison and/or a fine up to $12,500.
There are several circumstances under which the penalty for a robbery will be enhanced. One such circumstance is committing the crime while armed—in other words, committing an armed robbery.
Under DC law, “armed” means being actually armed or having readily available any pistol or other firearm (or imitation thereof) or other dangerous or deadly weapon. Examples of a “dangerous or deadly weapon” include other types of guns, any sort of knife, or metallic knuckles—but the list is certainly not limited to those examples. Anything that is used or intended to be used to cause serious bodily injury or death qualifies as a “dangerous or deadly weapon”. The legal definition is broad on purpose so no loopholes can be exploited.
For the first offense of armed robbery, the sentence for a basic robbery conviction can be enhanced by up to an additional 30 years in prison. If the armed robbery was committed with any pistol or firearm, the additional penalty will be at least 5 years minimum.
For a second or subsequent offense of armed robbery, the maximum additional time in prison is still 30 years, but there will be a minimum additional time of 5 years. If the armed robbery was committed with any pistol or firearm, the additional penalty for a second or subsequent offense will be at minimum 10 years instead.
Additionally, for armed robberies committed using any pistol or firearm, there will be no possibility of release or parole before the minimum additional time is served.
Other special penalty enhancement to robbery generally apply when the crime is committed against a specific protected class of person.
In DC, these protected classes include: senior citizens (persons 65 years old or older); citizen patrol members; taxicab drivers; transit operators; and metro rail station managers. Robbery against these protected classes will multiply the maximum penalties applicable—both fines and prison time—by 1.5 times the base amount.
In a similar vein, if the robbery is deemed a “bias-related crime”—in other words, a crime committed due to prejudice against a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, homelessness, physical disability, matriculation, or political affiliation—the maximum penalty applicable is also multiplied by 1.5 times.
Carjacking in Washington, DC
The crime of carjacking is a specific form of robbery. Per DC Code §22–2803, the definition of carjacking in DC is the same as robbery in general, except the possession taken is specifically a person’s motor vehicle. Since it is a form of robbery, carjacking is also a felony in DC.
As carjacking is often associated with getaways after the commission of other crimes, the punishment for carjacking in DC is even higher than that of robbery. A conviction for carjacking (or an attempt thereof) in DC carries a minimum sentence of 7 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison. You may also have to pay a fine of up to $75,000. As with robbery in general, carjacking has an enhanced punishment for commission of the crime while armed. Conviction for armed carjacking (or an attempt thereof) in DC carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, although any sentence of more than 30 years can only be imposed if there are specific
aggravating circumstances involved, such as serious bodily injury to or death of the victim. You may also have to pay a fine of up to $125,000.
There is no possibility of release or parole for a person convicted of carjacking or armed carjacking in DC until they have served the minimum sentence applicable (7 years for carjacking, 15 years for armed carjacking).
Due to the significant penalties associated with a conviction for robbery or the related offense of carjacking, it is extremely important to get in touch with an expert DC criminal defense lawyer right away if you are facing such charges. The lawyer will be able to help you sort out your situation to you best interest, evaluate your options for the future, and put together a vigorous defense of your case.
If you are facing robbery or carjacking charges in DC, do not hesitate to contact the professional, expert, aggressive DC Robbery Lawyers or DC Carjacking Lawyers at Ervin Kibria Law for a free consultation.
Give us a call and arrange a free consultation.
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