Bank Robbery: Popular in Movies, Pretty Illegal in Real Life
- December 23, 2015
- The Law Office of Greg Tsioros
- Comments Off on Bank Robbery: Popular in Movies, Pretty Illegal in Real Life
Bank Robbery in Texas
Few crimes have the same reputation as the crime of bank robbery. Movies and television shows often portray this crime as glamorous or an act of desperation. Many people have heard stories of criminals from the gangster era pulling off daring acts of bank robbery and making exciting escapes. Compared to other types of robbery or theft, bank robbery certainly seems to be more intense.
The truth is that bank robbery is one of the most serious robbery offenses under Texas law. A conviction for this offense can lead to very severe consequences, including years in prison and extremely high fines.
Texas Bank Robbery Laws
It’s pretty easy to define the crime of bank robbery. This crime involves stealing valuable goods or cash from a financial institution. This is in contrast to theft crimes like stealing property from a home or taking cash from a register at a convenience store.
Bank robbery is a much more serious offense because banks are often insured by the federal government. This means that bank robbery can be prosecuted as a federal offense.
Bank robbery is also perceived as a more serious offense because a person who robs a bank may be viewed as a person who is intentionally trying to take large sums of money. Rather than a person who commits a mugging out of desperation, a person who robs a bank may be viewed as a calculating criminal.
In Texas, a person who engages in a bank robbery will be prosecuted based on the amount of money that they stole.
For example, a person who steals more than $1,000 from a bank or financial institution can face:
- Up to 10 years in federal prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
Bank robbery in Texas is a second degree felony. However, other circumstances involved in the crime can cause the penalties to be increased.
A person who uses threats, violence or weapons during a bank robbery may face charges of aggravated robbery. This is a very serious escalation of the offense, potentially leading to enhanced penalties.
A person who uses a threat or a weapon can face federal imprisonment. For example, a person who waves a gun during a bank robbery can face:
- A Class C federal felony conviction
- Up to 20 years in federal prison
In these cases, a threat can include a verbal threat of physical harm or even passing a note to a teller threatening violence.
A person who actually commits an act of violence or uses a weapon during a bank robbery can face:
- Conviction on a Class B federal felony charge
- Up to 25 years in federal prison
A person who kills someone during a bank robbery may face life imprisonment or even the death penalty.
These days, it’s hard to get away with a bank robbery. All banks use security cameras, alarms and other surveillance devices to monitor any robbery events. They also use special training programs that are designed to teach bank employees how to identify people who try to commit a robbery. This means that defending against bank robbery charges can be difficult.
However, by hiring a defense attorney, it is still possible to construct a strong defense in a robbery case. For example, an attorney may be able to exchange his client’s cooperation with the court for a plea deal. If this is successful, the court may agree to accept a guilty plea and, in return, they may offer the defendant a reduced sentence. If this is successful, the defendant may be able to avoid an extremely lengthy prison term.
Bank robberies are incredibly serious crimes. If you our someone you know is being charged with this, do yourself a favor and contact attorney Greg Tsioros at (832) 752-5972.