Federal law makes it a crime for you to intentionally steal money or other property from a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association. If you’re convicted of this offense, you could face a federal prison sentence of up to 20 years. Please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is facing any criminal charge under federal law.
What is the Federal Law on Bank Robbery?
18 U.S. Code 2113 is the federal statute that sets forth the crime of bank robbery. Per this law, you’re guilty of a federal offense if:
- You take or attempt to take any money or property from a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association, and
- Do so by means of force and violence, or intimidation.
For purposes of this statute, a “bank” is any member bank of the Federal Reserve System. It encompasses
- Banking associations,
- Trust companies,
- Savings banks,
- Agencies of foreign banks, and
- Institutions of deposit insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
A “credit union” must be insured by the National Credit Union Administration Board in order to be protected by bank robbery laws. Similarly, a “savings and loan association” needs to be insured by the FDIC.
What are the Penalties?
A conviction under 18 U.S. Code 2113 is a serious offense. The crime is punishable by custody in federal prison for up to 20 years. You could also receive substantial fines, either in lieu of, or in addition, to prison time.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. People charged with bank robbery can contest the charge with a legal defense. One common defense is mistaken identity. Bank robbers usually mask their faces and try to avoid security cameras when carrying out their theft. Furthermore, witnesses are often too panicked to get a good look at the robber’s physical attributes. So, if your criminal defense attorney can raise a reasonable doubt that you were the person who carried out the crime, your case may get dropped.
Your defense attorney can also try and show that the police violated one of your constitutional rights. Maybe, for example, the police:
- Arrested you without probable cause,
- Conducted an illegal search and seizure, or
- Coerced a confession.
If any of the above, then your defense lawyer can argue that your bank robbery charge should get reduced or dismissed altogether.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a bank robbery charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced federal crime attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various federal charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!