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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Responding to Federal Robbery Charges: What You Need to Know

By Spodek Law Group | October 19, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 10:00 am


Responding to Federal Robbery Charges: What You Need to Know

Being charged with a federal robbery offense can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience. However, it’s important to remember that you have rights under the law. While the penalties for federal robbery charges are severe, an experienced defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you and build the strongest possible defense.

In this article, we’ll break down the basics of federal robbery laws, penalties, and defense strategies. We’ll also discuss what to expect at each stage of your case so you can make informed decisions. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to respond appropriately if you find yourself facing federal robbery charges.

What is Federal Robbery?

Robbery is basically theft by force or threat of force. Under federal law, robbery is defined as taking or attempting to take anything of value from another person by force, violence, or intimidation . Some key elements of federal robbery include:

  • Property was taken from a person or in their presence
  • The property taken had some value
  • Force or threat of force was used to take the property
  • The robbery affected interstate or foreign commerce in some way

For a robbery to qualify as a federal crime, it must have some connection to interstate commerce. This could mean the business that was robbed was engaged in interstate commerce, the robber crossed state lines, or the goods stolen traveled between states.

Types of Federal Robbery Charges

There are a few main federal statutes used to prosecute robbery:

  • Hobbs Act Robbery – Prohibits actual or attempted robbery that affects interstate or foreign commerce in any way . This is the most common federal robbery charge.
  • Bank Robbery – Prohibits robbery of a bank whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) .
  • Post Office Robbery – Prohibits robbery of postal employees or property .
  • Robbery aboard Aircraft – Prohibits robbery while aboard, entering, or exiting an aircraft in flight .

Prosecutors can charge multiple counts of robbery based on the number of people victimized. There may also be additional charges like kidnapping, carjacking, or assault if those offenses occurred during the robbery.

Penalties for Federal Robbery Conviction

A federal robbery conviction can lead to very serious penalties. While the sentences vary based on the specific charges and your criminal history, potential penalties include:

  • Prison time – Hobbs Act robbery carries up to 20 years in prison. Bank robbery carries up to 25 years. Fines and restitution may also be ordered.
  • Death penalty – The death penalty may be pursued for robbery resulting in death, or kidnapping resulting in death.
  • Probation – For first time offenders involved in minor robberies, probation may be ordered instead of prison time.

Other consequences of a federal robbery conviction include losing the right to vote or possess a firearm after release from prison. Robbery charges can truly disrupt and change the course of a person’s life.

Stages of a Federal Robbery Case

If you’re facing federal robbery charges, here’s a basic overview of what to expect:


Before an arrest, federal agents will investigate the robbery by interviewing witnesses, reviewing surveillance footage, analyzing forensic evidence, and more. It’s best not to make any statements to investigators at this stage.


If the investigation produces probable cause, a federal warrant can be issued for your arrest. If arrested, you’ll be booked, photographed, fingerprinted, and held until your initial court appearance.

Initial Hearing

Within 48 hours of arrest, you’ll go before a judge who will inform you of the charges against you. This is mainly to determine if you’ll be released on bail or held in detention pre-trial.

Preliminary Hearing

For felony charges like robbery, a preliminary hearing will be held where the prosecution must show probable cause that you committed the crime. Your defense attorney can cross-examine witnesses and argue against the charges at this stage.

Grand Jury

The prosecution will present evidence to a grand jury to convince them to issue an indictment formally charging you. Your attorney cannot be present for grand jury proceedings.


This hearing is where you will enter your initial plea – guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Pleas can be changed later as your case progresses.

Pretrial Motions

Your attorney may file pretrial motions to suppress evidence, dismiss charges, or otherwise fight the prosecution’s case against you.

Plea Bargaining

Many federal robbery cases end in a plea bargain rather than trial. An experienced attorney can negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or sentencing recommendations.


If no plea deal is reached, your case will go to trial before a judge and jury. The prosecution bears the burden of proving all elements of the robbery charges beyond a reasonable doubt.


If convicted at trial or by guilty plea, the judge will impose a sentence based on federal sentencing guidelines and statutes. Your attorney may argue for leniency.


You can appeal your conviction or sentence to a higher federal court. Appeals focus on serious legal errors or abuses of discretion in the original case.

Fighting Federal Robbery Charges

While federal robbery cases can seem daunting, an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can thoroughly analyze the evidence against you and build a strong defense. Some strategies may include:

  • Contesting improper police procedures that violated your rights
  • Disputing eyewitness identifications as unreliable
  • Challenging deficiencies in DNA or other forensic evidence
  • Raising an alibi that places you elsewhere at the time
  • Arguing you did not use actual or threatened force
  • Seeking to suppress your statements to investigators

In addition, an attorney may be able to negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges, dismissal of enhancements, or sentencing leniency. The key is developing leverage to get federal prosecutors to offer a favorable plea deal.

Take Federal Robbery Charges Seriously

The bottom line is that federal robbery charges should never be faced without an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner. A conviction can derail your education, career, and future. But skilled legal advocacy can help protect your rights, avoid the harshest penalties, and achieve the best possible outcome given the circumstances.

If you or a loved one are facing federal robbery charges, don’t go it alone. Consult with a defense attorney immediately about building a customized defense strategy for your unique case.


Hobbs Act Robbery

Bank Robbery

Post Office Robbery

Robbery aboard Aircraft

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