Criminal Law

Robbery, Extortion, and Blackmail - Basic Economic Offenses

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§2B3.1GUIDELINES MANUALNovember 1, 2005

3. "Loss" means the value of the property taken, damaged, or destroyed.

4. The combined adjustments for weapon involvement and injury are limited to a maximum enhancement of 11 levels.

5. If the defendant intended to murder the victim, an upward departure may be warranted; see §2A2.1 (Assault with Intent to Commit Murder; Attempted Murder).

6. "A threat of death," as used in subsection (b)(2)(F), may be in the form of an oral or written statement, act, gesture, or combination thereof. Accordingly, the defendant does not have to state expressly his intent to kill the victim in order for the enhancement to apply. For example, an oral or written demand using words such as "Give me the money or I will kill you", "Give me the money or I will pull the pin on the grenade I have in my pocket", "Give me the money or I will shoot you", "Give me your money or else (where the defendant draws his hand across his throat in a slashing motion)", or "Give me the money or you are dead" would constitute a threat of death. The court should consider that the intent of this provision is to provide an increased offense level for cases in which the offender(s) engaged in conduct that would instill in a reasonable person, who is a victim of the offense, a fear of death.

Background: Possession or use of a weapon, physical injury, and unlawful restraint sometimes occur during a robbery. The guideline provides for a range of enhancements where these factors are present.

Although in pre-guidelines practice the amount of money taken in robbery cases affected sentence length, its importance was small compared to that of the other harm involved. Moreover, because of the relatively high base offense level for robbery, an increase of 1 or 2 levels brings about a considerable increase in sentence length in absolute terms. Accordingly, the gradations for property loss increase more slowly than for simple property offenses.

The guideline provides an enhancement for robberies where a victim was forced to accompany the defendant to another location, or was physically restrained by being tied, bound, or locked up.

Historical Note:: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective June 15, 1988 (see Appendix C, amendments 14 and 15); November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendments 110 and 111); November 1, 1990 (see Appendix C, amendments 314, 315, and 361); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 365); November 1, 1993 (see Appendix C, amendment 483); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendments 545 and 552); November 1, 2000 (see Appendix C, amendment 601); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 617).

§2B3.2. Extortion by Force or Threat of Injury or Serious Damage

(a) Base Offense Level: 18

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If the offense involved an express or implied threat of death, bodily injury, or kidnapping, increase by 2 levels.

(2) If the greater of the amount demanded or the loss to the victim exceeded $10,000, increase by the corresponding number of levels from the table in §2B3.1(b)(7).

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