New York laws define robbery as “forcible stealing,” which means that this crime only applies to those who use physical force – or threaten to use physical force – while stealing another person’s property. This sets robbery apart from other theft crimes, such as larceny, which involves stealing property with no intention of returning it. Essentially, robbery is an act of violence.
There are three types of robbery charges in New York: robbery in the first, second and third degrees. All forms of robbery are felonies, but the crime’s severity will influence the penalties.
If you face robbery charges, or if you have been the victim of false arrest, a criminal lawyer in New York City can help you build a strong defense. Call Goldberg & Allen, LLP at 212-766-3366 to get started.
In the meantime, here is a breakdown of the key differences between the three types of robbery charges:
- First-Degree Robbery
Article 160 of the NY Penal Code describes first-degree robbery as a Class B felony, which has a penalty of up to 25 years’ incarceration at a state prison facility. In order to face such a charge, the defendant must have stolen property forcibly with the following actions:
- Caused the victim serious personal injury
- Was armed with a deadly weapon
- Threatened to use or actually used the deadly weapon during the incident
- Displayed the weapon openly
- Second-Degree Robbery
As a Class C felony, robbery in the second degree is only slightly less severe than first-degree robbery. If the court finds you guilty, you may go to jail for up to 15 years. The prosecution must prove that you forcibly stole another person’s property and:
- Harmed the victim physically
- Openly showed the victim a firearm, such as a machine gun, shotgun, pistol or revolver
- Acted alone during theft of a motor vehicle
- Third-Degree Robbery
Third-degree robbery is a Class D felony and comes with penalties of up to seven years in jail. In order to be found guilty, you must have used or threatened to use physical force during the theft. However, this charge does not require proof of using a dangerous weapon or physically harming the victim involved. The prosecution only must prove that you committed the crime with force or threats of violence.
Robbery is a crime of physical violence or intimidation with the intent to cause fear for life, and defending against these charges is a complex process. There are several defense strategies that may be effective, but it is always wise to structure a defense around the unique circumstances of your specific charges.
Robbery charges in New York are serious. If found guilty, you could spend several years behind bars, and compromise your personal and financial freedoms. Call Goldberg & Allen, LLP at 212-766-3366 to discuss the charges against you with an experienced criminal attorney. We always put our clients first, and we will aggressively defend your rights.