Robbery, Abduction, and Extortion Crimes Carry Stiff Penalties in Virginia

If you've been charged with robbery, abduction, or extortion in Virginia, not only are you facing a felony charge, but you're also facing the possibility of significant incarceration, including life in prison. Given the seriousness of these crimes, anyone charged should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The loss of freedom and other consequences from such a conviction can be profound. 

Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Manikas Law, LLC if you've been arrested for robbery, abduction, or extortion in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Alexandria, or elsewhere in Northern Virginia.

Robbery Offenses in Virginia

Robbery (Va. Code 18.2-58) is the taking, with the intent to deprive the owner permanently, of personal property, from his person or in his presence, against his will, by violence or intimidation. The violence or intimidation must be directed at the victim and must precede or occur at the same time as the taking.

Robbery is punishable by a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. If the robbery is accomplished by the use of a firearm, or an object that appears to be a firearm, a separate offense under Va. Code 18.2-53.1 occurs: use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. This offense is punishable by up to five years in jail. In addition, there's a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of three years for a first conviction, and a mandatory minimum term of five years for a second or subsequent conviction.

Carjacking is also a serious offense in Virginia. If the offense is a carjacking (Va. Code 18.2-58.1), the penalty is 15 years to life imprisonment.

Abduction Charges in Virginia

Abduction or kidnapping in Virginia can be either simple abduction (Va. Code 18.2-47) or aggravated abduction (Va. Code 18.2-48). Simple abduction occurs when someone by force, intimidation, or deception seizes, takes, transports, or detains another with the intent to deprive that person of his or her liberty. Simple abduction is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.

If simple abduction is committed by the parent, the offense shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor in addition to being punishable as contempt of court. However, if the child abducted is removed from the Commonwealth or Virginia by the abducting parent, the crime is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.

Alternatively, a parent who abducts a child can be charged under Va. Code 49.1. This provision states that any person who knowingly withholds a child from either of a child's parents or other legal guardian in a clear and significant violation of a court order respecting the custody or visitation of such child, provided such child is withheld outside of the Commonwealth, is guilty of a Class 6 felony. If the child is not removed from Virginia, the offense is a Class 3 misdemeanor upon conviction of a first offense, a Class 2 misdemeanor upon a second conviction within 12 months, and a Class 1 misdemeanor upon a third conviction within 24 months.

Aggravated abduction, under Va. Code 18.2-48, provides that anyone who commits an abduction (i) with the intent to extort money or pecuniary benefit; (ii) of any person with intent to defile such person or; (iii) of any child under 16 years of age for the purpose of prostitution, is guilty of a Class 2 felony. A Class 2 felony is punishable by 20 years–to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

What Is Extortion?

Extortion can involve money, property, or the gaining of other pecuniary benefit. Under Va. Code 18.2-59, extortion can occur when a person does one of the following:

  • Threatens injury to the character, person, or property of another person
  • Accuses him of any offense
  • Threatens to report him as being illegally present in the United States
  • Knowingly destroys, conceals, removes, confiscates, withholds or threatens to withhold, or possesses any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document, of another person, and thereby extorts money, property, or pecuniary benefit or any note, bond, or other evidence of debt from him or any other person

This crime is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.

Contact an Experienced Fairfax County and Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney

Given the possibility of receiving a sentence of life in prison, you can't afford to go it alone if you're charged with robbery, abduction, or extortion. You need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call our law office today to schedule a consultation to learn what you can expect in your criminal case and how we can help you.