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Virginia Appellate Court Upholds Conviction of Robbery Due to a Finding of Intimidation

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Larceny

Recently, a Virginia appellate court affirmed a conviction against a defendant who was found guilty of robbery. The court held that the conviction of robbery was appropriate given that there was a sufficient basis for finding that intimidation was involved in the robbery.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant entered a bank, passed the teller a note, and uttered that “this is a robbery.” When the teller asked her to repeat what she said, the defendant said, “Give me all the money; this is a robbery.” During her testimony, the teller stated that she was in shock and that the bank policy requires that if someone utters the word “robbery,” the teller must comply with their demands. The teller handed the defendant all the money and set off an alarm. The teller testified that at the time, she was not sure what the defendant’s intentions were, was not sure if the defendant would hurt her, and was thinking about a recent incident where four tellers at a bank were shot and killed during a robbery. After the robbery incident, the teller immediately began to cry and shake.

The defendant was convicted of robbery and appealed that conviction. The defendant argued that the lower court erred in finding that the teller gave the defendant the money as a result of intimidation and instead argued that the teller gave her the money because of the bank policy requiring a teller to comply during a robbery.

The Decision

The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s conviction, finding that there was a sufficient basis to conclude that there was intimidation during the robbery. The court explained that under Virginia case law, a robbery involves, with the intent to steal, the taking of the personal property of another against that person’s will, using violence or intimidation. This incident did not involve violence, but the court found that it did involve intimidation, which involves a person’s words or conduct controlling another, and thus putting them in fear of bodily harm.

Here, the court highlights that the defendant had the purpose of making the teller hand over the money against her will by creating an intimidating atmosphere when she uttered that this was a robbery. Also, just because the teller complied with the bank policy does not change the fact that there was intimidation involved. The teller’s testimony describing how she was thinking about a recent bank robbery that resulted in the death of four tellers showed that the teller was aware when someone utters the word “robbery,” there is a potential of bodily harm. Finally, even though the teller remained composed during the robbery, she broke down and cried afterward. Altogether, the court decided that there was a sufficient basis to find intimidation and that the conviction of robbery would be upheld.

Were You Arrested for a Larceny in Virginia?

If you have been convicted of a crime in Virginia, contact the dedicated criminal defense lawyers at Robinson Law. The attorneys at Robinson law are experienced in representing clients facing criminal charges including Virginia larceny offenses, DUI, drug crimes, and weapons offenses. At Robinson Law, the attorneys are ready to use their expertise to build your case. To schedule a free consultation, call Robinson Law at 703-542-3616.