Thursday, February 28, 2013


In the last few weeks there have been at least two bank robberies on Maui.  Three people have been arrested in connection with one of the robberies but the suspect in the other has not been apprehended.  In light of recent events, it’s worth discussing definition of robbery.

In Hawaii, there are two elements to the crime of robbery:  1) theft and 2) the use of force or the threat of using force.  If there was a deadly instrument involved the robbery is typically charged as a first degree robbery which is a Class A felony.  If there was no deadly instrument the robbery is usually charged as second degree robbery which is a Class B felony. 

In many bank robberies, time is of the essence and a getaway driver and vehicle are used.  The driver is often charged with robbery as well and the question arises as to how a driver can be charged with robbery when he or she was not even in the bank. 

The answer lies in the theory of accomplice liability.  If a person aids another in committing a crime while intending to promote or facilitate it, he or she is an accomplice.  An accomplice can be charged with the underlying crime.  A reasonable defense to accomplice liability is based on the intent requirement.  Since an accomplice must intend to help commit the crime, if the prosecution can not show there was intent, a jury must acquit the defendant. 

Click on the links below for more information about first and second degree robbery. 

Robbery in the first degree.

Robbery in the second degree.

No comments:

Post a Comment