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. If there was no deadly instrument the robbery is usually charged as second degree robbery.
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.