29 Nov 23

What Are the Penalties for Robbing a Federal Bank?

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Last Updated on: 16th December 2023, 11:11 am

What Are the Penalties for Robbing a Federal Bank?

Bank robbery is no joke—it’s a serious federal crime that carries some hefty penalties if you get caught. Let’s break down exactly what kind of trouble you’d be looking at if you decided to try and rob a bank.

Up to 20 Years in Prison

For a basic federal bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113, you could face up to 20 years in federal prison. That’s two whole decades behind bars! And that’s just for walking into a bank, slipping the teller a note, and walking out with some cash. No weapons involved whatsoever.

To give you an idea of how serious they take this stuff, even just attempting to rob a bank carries the same potential 20-year sentence. You don’t even have to succeed! Just trying is enough to get you hard time.

Fines Up to $250,000

On top of the prison sentence, you could also be slapped with fines of up to $250,000. That’s a quarter of a million dollars! Few people have that kind of money just lying around. Even if you scored a decent haul from your bank heist, you’d probably have to kiss it goodbye to pay off those major fines.

10+ Years for Kidnapping or Murder

God forbid anyone gets hurt or killed during your robbery. If a victim, bystander, or even a security guard chasing after you ends up kidnapped or murdered, you’ll face at least 10 more years added to your sentence. We’re talking 30 years or more behind bars. That’s practically a life sentence.

So if you’re even thinking about trying to rob a bank, get ready to risk decades of your life. It really isn’t worth it for some quick cash.

Lesser Charges Still Bring Prison Time

Okay, say you just try to rob a bank but don’t actually get away with any money. Even then, you could get slapped with lesser charges like “bank robbery attempt,” which still carries up to 20 years. Or if you only rob the ATM and not the actual bank, that can still get you 10 years.

The point is, federal prosecutors throw the book at any kind of bank-related robbery. Even scaled-down versions of the crime can put you away for a good chunk of your life.

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Expect High Prosecution Rates

If you read up on federal bank robbery charges, you’ll see that prosecution and conviction rates are extremely high. Banks have very good security systems these days, so if you try robbing one, there’s an excellent chance you’ll get caught red-handed.

And once they have you dead to rights on camera sticking up a bank, you can expect the prosecution will push hard for maximum penalties. Bank robbery is the kind of charge they want to “make an example” out of to deter others from trying it.

The Takeaway

The bottom line is that federal bank robbery will earn you hard prison time no matter how you slice it. Even with a good defense lawyer, you’re facing an uphill battle against almost certain conviction and stiff penalties. We’re talking decades behind bars and massive fines.

So do yourself a favor and pick a different way to get money—robbing banks is pretty much never worth the severe and life-altering consequences.

Hopefully this breakdown gives you a better sense of what you’d really be getting yourself into. And deters you from ever attempting this dangerous and foolhardy crime!

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