A holdup robbery is a specific type of robbery, one that is committed with the use of a dangerous or deadly weapon. It may also be referred to as a stick-up. These phrases originate with the common command of the robber to their victims to hold or stick their hands up in the air so that they cannot attempt to defend themselves. The weapon is often a gun or a knife. Holdups can occur under many different circumstances, but they occur most commonly with victims who are:

  • Pedestrians: since they are walking down the street, they may be easy targets, especially in areas without many other people around;
  • Passengers in a vehicle or public transportation;
  • Retail Store Clerks: along with bankers and cashiers, they are likely to have plenty of cash on hand to rob;
  • Bankers;
  • Cashiers; and/or
  • Cargo Transport Workers: possess valuable items that robbers target.

The crime of robbery may be defined as theft plus an assault, or the use of force. Usually, when a holdup robbery is committed, the force involves the threat of harm from a weapon such as a knife or gun (robbers sometimes only pretend to have a weapon in order to achieve their crime).

Because of this, the laws that govern holdup robberies are often grouped in with armed robbery laws, which is a robbery charge with a more serious punishment attached to it. Holdup robberies may include crimes in a range from less to more serious, from a minor mugging to a more serious crime, like a bank robbery.

What are the Legal Consequences for a Charge of Holdup Robbery?

Criminal laws vary from state to state. Armed robberies and holdup robberies are very serious crimes, which involve the threatening of people with weapons, theft and the potential injury or death of the people who are held up. Because this crime is so serious, the penalties for it are as well. Even though laws and the exact penalties for holdup robbery do vary by state, it is a serious crime, wherever it is committed. It will generally be classified as a felony, which is a category of serious crimes that often involve jail time.

The sentence is likely to be at least one year, and there will likely be monetary fines involved, as well, for anyone convicted of a felony. Although the mere taking of property is not always a felony, the threat to other people involved with a holdup (with use of a weapon) makes the crime much more serious in nature, and it is punished accordingly.

It should be noted that, in any category of theft or robbery, the sentence for the crime is always likely to be longer the more was stolen. So, the penalty would be greater for stealing $50,000 than for stealing $500 or the equivalent in stolen property.

Although robberies are typically defined and penalized according to state law, there are some types of holdup robberies which may qualify as federal crimes. They would then be penalized according to the federal sentencing system. For example, the robbery of a bank is always classified as a federal crime. This also applies to credit unions and savings and loan associations. Other holdup robberies that may fall within federal jurisdiction involve property that is stolen while in transit across state lines, because the federal government regulates and controls interstate commerce. Holdup, or armed robberies, are also felonies under federal law.

What if the Weapon was Not Real?

In many jurisdictions, the laws are written to include this possibility. Most of these laws treat the apparent, or use of a fake weapon for robbery just as they would the use of a real weapon in an armed robbery or holdup robbery. If someone is injured or killed, it does, of course, make a difference to the criminal’s sentence.

However, even in the absence of death or injury of a victim, the crime of armed robbery itself is still accomplished. If the victims believe the robber has a gun, they will respond according to this belief that they could be injured or killed for not complying with the robber’s demands. They will be traumatized and the robber will accomplish their goal via use of their fear. Ultimately, even if the threat was not genuine, if it results in the robbery being successful then it is treated as armed robbery.

Robbers often pretend to use a gun by pressing an item to someone’s back and pretending it is a gun, or otherwise modify a toy or other object to look like a real weapon.

Do I Need a Lawyer If I Have Been Charged with a Holdup Robbery?

Holdup robberies are serious criminal offenses which may involve serious criminal penalties, depending on a variety of factors. If you have been charged with a holdup robbery, you should get the assistance of a lawyer near you.

You may want to hire an experienced criminal attorney in your area if you need help with holdup robbery charges. Your attorney can provide you with the representation and legal guidance that is needed for your defense.