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Federal Robbery Prosecutions, or Business Robberies (Interference with Commerce by Threats or Violence)

Robbery is a crime that is traditionally prosecuted in state court, along with charges such as assault, theft, and manslaughter. These types of cases are routinely prosecuted as street crime, which usually does not have a federal connection.

We see more robberies of businesses being charged in federal court, as businesses have interstate commerce connections. This then provides federal jurisdiction, whereas robbery of a person likely does not. More commonly, grocery stores, gas stations / convenience stores, and fast-food restaurants are the targets of business robberies. The fact that stores or restaurants use products grown or manufactured in another state, often gives the federal, interstate connection.

Federal Business Robbery

It is a federal crime to interfere with interstate commerce by robbery. The “Hobbs Act,” 18 U.S.C. §1951, made such robberies federal crimes where the defendant “interferes” with commerce by a robbery.  That is, a person interferes with interstate commerce when he robs a business affecting interstate commerce.  Another example of a federal connection to prosecution is the federal charge of bank robbery.  Federal jurisdiction for bank robbery is usually either a federally chartered bank, or a federally insured bank.  This provides federal jurisdiction even though the robbery was a local act, just like the business robberies.

Potential for Federal Firearms Charges

Business robberies, or “Hobbs Act” robberies, are certain to involve the use of firearms. The definition of federal robberies includes using force, being “actual or threatened force, or violence, or fear of injury.” Therefore, the use of a firearm provides “force” needed to prove that it was a robbery. Additionally, a federal prosecutor might include a firearmsviolation, such as felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, or possession of a short-barrel shotgun.

Action / Investigation

If you have been arrested, or if you are under investigation, contact former federal prosecutor John Teakell. He will use his experience to defend federal robbery, firearms, white collar cases, drug charges, or any criminal case

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