Robbery Laws In New York – All You Need To Know

by ECL Writer
Robbery In The Third Degree

Robbery is a serious criminal offense that is considered a violent crime in New York State. The state of New York has specific laws that define and penalize robbery. Robbery is defined as the taking of property from another person by force, intimidation, or threat. This can include stealing money or other valuables, such as jewelry or electronics, directly from a person or from a business. The penalties for robbery in New York can be severe, including lengthy prison sentences, fines, and restitution to the victim. Understanding the details of robbery laws in New York is essential for both citizens and law enforcement officials to ensure justice is served and crime is deterred. This Eastcoastlaws.com article will explore the specifics of robbery laws in New York and how they are enforced.

Understanding The Legal Definition Of Robbery Laws In New York

Robbery is a serious crime that is taken very seriously in New York State. In legal terms, robbery is defined as the taking of another person’s property by force or the threat of force. This means that if someone takes your property without your permission and they use or threatens to use physical force to do so, they could be charged with robbery. The force used doesn’t necessarily have to be severe; even a slight push or pull could qualify as a force in the eyes of the law. It’s important to understand the legal definition of robbery if you are accused of this crime, or if you want to know what actions could lead to robbery charges.

Criminal Laws 160.05, 160.10, and 160.15 are the only three statutes that adequately describe robbery offenses in New York. It is a very serious offense whether someone is punched and their wallet is taken, a knife is brandished and an iPhone is taken, a gun is discharged during the theft of a vehicle, or a group of five men and women collaborate to pull jewelry from someone else’s neck.

Elements Of Robbery Charges In New York State

An Article 160 violation can best be understood by considering it to be a form of coercive theft. No matter the item’s worth, number, size, or other characteristics, you have broken one of the three degrees of this violation if you use or threaten to use immediate physical force to remove it from someone else. The three degrees of this crime are robbery in the third degree (Penal Law 160.05), robbery in the second degree (Penal Law 160.10), and robbery in the first degree (Penal Law 160.15), and you and your criminal defense attorney can expect to face them at your arraignment, in the grand jury, or during a trial. All of these crimes have the same basic elements as shown above, but when there is an injury, there are multiple attackers, or a weapon is used, the crime is aggravated and elevated to a higher level.

Is Robbery A Felony In New York?

Yes, robbery is considered a felony in New York State. In fact, it is one of the most serious violent crimes under New York law. The severity of the punishment for robbery depends on several factors, including the level of force used during the commission of the crime, the value of the property stolen, and the use of a weapon.

Different Types Of Robbery Charges In New York State

In New York State, there are different types of robbery charges that a person can face depending on the circumstances of the crime. Some of the most common types of robbery charges include:

Robbery in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 160.15

Robbery in the first degree is when a person steals anything by force and, during the commission of the crime or while fleeing from it right away, he or another participant:

  • Causes serious physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; or
  • Is armed with a deadly weapon; or
  • Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument; or
  • Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearms; except that in any prosecution under this subdivision, it is an affirmative defense that such pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearm was not a loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injuries, could be discharged. Nothing contained in this subdivision shall constitute a defense to a prosecution for, or preclude a conviction of, robbery in the second degree, robbery in the third degree or any other crime.

Second Degree Robbery: NY Penal Law 160.10

Robbery in the Second Degree is a C felony. Robbery in the Second Degree consists of the forcible stealing of property with any of the following aggravating factors: (1) the defendant is aided by another person actually present; (2) in the commission of the crime, or during the flight thereafter, the defendant: (a) causes physical injury to a person who is not involved in the commission of the crime, or (b) displays what appears to be a firearm; or (3) the property consists of a motor vehicle. 

Robbery in the Third Degree: NY Penal Law 160.05

According to New York Penal Code 160.05., you have committed the crime of Robbery in the Third Degree if you violently take someone else’s property without using a weapon. While many movies show a stranger wearing a mask and carrying a gun demanding a wallet from a random person or a predetermined target, robbery as defined by the New York Penal Law and as perceived by criminal lawyers is very different.

To commit third-degree robbery, do you need to brandish a weapon, threaten violence, or inflict harm on someone? No is the easy response. It could be necessary to push, hit, or grip and pull someone’s shoulder. An Assistant District Attorney in the five boroughs of New York City or any of the counties in the Hudson Valley may file a felony complaint against you or bring a case before the Grand Jury alleging that you violated NY Penal Law 160.05. This is true whether the force was moderately insignificant or extremely aggressive.

Penalties For Robbery Convictions In New York State

If you are convicted of robbery in New York State, you could face severe penalties, including:

  • First-Degree Robbery: This is the most serious type of robbery charge in New York State. It involves the use of a deadly weapon, or the threat of a deadly weapon, during the commission of the crime. First-degree robbery is a Class B felony, which can result in up to 25 years in prison.
  • Second-Degree Robbery: This type of robbery charge also involves the use of a weapon or the threat of a weapon, but it is not considered as serious as first-degree robbery. Second-degree robbery is a Class C felony, which can result in up to 15 years in prison.
  • Third-Degree Robbery: This type of robbery charge does not involve the use or threat of a weapon, but it does involve physical force. Third-degree robbery is a Class D felony, which can result in up to 7 years in prison.
  • Robbery in the Fourth Degree: This is the least serious type of robbery charge in New York State. It involves the use of force or the threat of force, but the victim is not physically injured. Robbery in the fourth degree is a Class E felony, which can result in up to 4 years in prison.

Defenses For Robbery Charges In New York State

If you are facing robbery charges in New York State, there are several defenses that your attorney may use to try to get the charges dismissed or reduced. Some common defenses for robbery charges include:

  • Lack of Intent: To be convicted of robbery, the prosecution must prove that you had the intent to steal the victim’s property. If your attorney can argue that you did not have the intent to steal, this could be a valid defense.
  • Mistaken Identity: In some cases, witnesses may misidentify the perpetrator of the crime. If your attorney can show that you were mistakenly identified as the robber, this could be a valid defense.
  • Self-Defense: If you used force to protect yourself or someone else from harm, this could be a valid defense against robbery charges. Your attorney would need to show that your use of force was reasonable and necessary.
  • Duress: If you were forced to commit the robbery under threat of harm to yourself or someone else, this could be a valid defense. Your attorney would need to show that you were acting under duress and had no other choice but to commit the robbery.

It’s important to remember that each case is unique, and the defenses that are most effective will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you understand your legal options and build a strong defense against robbery charges.

Differences Between Robbery And Burglary In New York State Law

  1. Robbery and burglary are two distinct crimes in New York State law. While both crimes involve taking someone else’s property without permission, there are some key differences between the two:
  • Definition: Robbery is defined as taking someone else’s property by force or the threat of force. Burglary, on the other hand, is defined as entering a building or dwelling with the intent to commit a crime.
  • Force: Robbery involves the use of force or the threat of force, while burglary does not necessarily involve the use of force.
  • Location: Robbery can take place anywhere, while burglary specifically involves unlawful entry into a building or dwelling.
  • Intent: The intent of the perpetrator is different for each crime. In a robbery, the intent is to take someone else’s property, while in burglary, the intent is to commit a crime after entering the building or dwelling.
  • Penalties: The penalties for robbery and burglary can also differ. As we discussed earlier, the penalties for robbery depend on the degree of the crime. Burglary in the third degree is a Class D felony, which can result in up to 7 years in prison. Burglary in the second degree is a Class C felony, which can result in up to 15 years in prison. Burglary in the first degree is a Class B felony, which can result in up to 25 years in prison.

Talk To A Lawyer

In conclusion, robbery is a serious crime in New York State, with severe penalties for those who are convicted. If you are facing robbery charges, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options, as well as the potential defenses that may be available to you. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you build a strong defense and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

A lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal system, protect your rights, and provide guidance on the best course of action to take. They can help you understand the charges against you, develop a defense strategy, and represent you in court.

If you are facing robbery charges in New York State, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. Talking to a lawyer can be an essential step in protecting your rights and securing a favorable outcome in your case.

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