Simply put, New York Robbery charges involve the forcible taking of someone else’s property. If thinking of the legal definition of Robbery as a math problem, Robbery is equal to the sum of a Petit Larceny (PL 155.25) and Assault in the Third Degree (PL 120.00). Under New York Law, Robbery includes:

  • Preventing or overcoming resistance in the taking of the property AND
  • Compelling the owner to give the property owner or engage in conduct that aids in the commission of a larceny.

There are three degrees of Robbery under New York Penal Law. Specifically, the New York Robbery charges are:

  • Robbery in the First Degree (PL 160.15);
  • Robbery in the Second Degree (PL 160.10);
  • Robbery in the Third Degree (PL 160.05).

Difference in New York Robbery Charges Explained

Robbery in the First Degree is the most serious of these charges, while Robbery in the Third Degree is the least serious. Importantly, all of these charges are felonies and thus all are punishable by serious jail time.

The degree of the New York Robbery charge that applies to your case depends on:

  • extent of the injuries to a non-participant;
  • use and type of weapon;
  • number of individuals participating in the robbery.

New York Robbery in the Third Degree (PL 160.05)

Under New York Penal Law, a person is guilty of Robbery in the Third Degree when he forcibly steals property.

As the legal definition of Robbery in the Third degree is very broad, any forcible taking of someone else’s property in New York would qualify as Robbery in the Third Degree.

Penalties and Sentencing for NY Robbery in the Third Degree

Robbery in the Third Degree is a class D non-violent felony. As such, it can be punishable by up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison. However, probation, a conditional discharge or a determinate sentence of 1 year are also possible sentences on this New York Robbery charge.

New York Robbery in the Second Degree (PL 160.10)

New York Robbery in the Second Degree is a more serious charge than New York Robbery in the Third Degree. That is because the crime of New York Robbery in the Second Degree has additional aggravating elements.

Elements of New York Robbery in the Second Degree

Under New York Penal Law Section 160.10, a person is guilty of Robbery in the Second Degree when s/he forcibly steals property and when s/he:

1. Is aided by another person actually present in committing the Robbery; OR

2. In the course of the commission of the crime or in the flight therefrom, he or another participant in the crime:

(a) Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; OR

(b) Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm; OR

3. The property consists of a motor vehicle, as the term is defined in section 135 of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic law.

Display of a Firearm Explained

New York’s Robbery in the Second Degree charge under Section 160.10(2)(b) uses the term “displays what appears to be” a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm. This means that an actual weapon does not need to be used for this charge to apply.

Let’s say someone walks into a bank, while holding their hand inside a hoodie pocket in a way that makes the bank teller believe that the hand is actually a gun. That type of conduct would fall into New York Robbery in the Second Degree (and a plethora of other New York State and federal charges). Under New York law, when an object appears to be a firearm, that is called a Baskerville theory for Robbery in the Second Degree charge.

Penalties and Sentencing for NY Robbery in the Second Degree

Robbery in the Second Degree is a Class C violent felony. As such, this charge is punishable by 3 1/2 to 15 years in prison. Importantly, unlike the Robbery in the Third Degree charge (D felony), probation or a conditional discharge are not authorized sentences for this New York Robbery charge.

New York Robbery in the First Degree (PL 160.15)

New York Robbery in the First Degree is the most serious of New York robbery charges.

Elements of New York Robbery in the First Degree

Under New York Penal Law Section 160.15, a person is guilty of Robbery in the First Degree when s/he forcibly steals property AND when, in the course of the commission of the crime or of immediate flight therefrom, s/he or another participant in the crime:

1. Causes serious physical injury to anyone who is not a participant in the crime; OR

2. Is armed with a deadly weapon; OR

3. Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument ;OR

4. Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm.

Affirmative Defense re: Operability of a Firearm

It is an affirmative defense under New York Robbery in the First Degree (not New York Robbery in the Second Degree) that the pistol, revolver, shotgun, machine gun or any other type of firearm was not loaded. Importantly, this affirmative defense only applies to Robbery in the First Degree, but does not preclude a prosecution or a conviction for a Robbery in the Second Degree or Robbery in the Third Degree.

Penalties and Sentencing for NY Robbery in the First Degree

Robbery in the First Degree is a class B violent felony. As such, it is punishable by 5 to 25 years in prison.

Common Defenses to New York Robbery Charges

Some common defenses to New York Robbery Charges are:

Mistaken Identity

A common defense to Robbery charges, especially where the parties are strangers to each other is the defense of mistaken identity. Meaning, although a crime occurred, the wrong individual was arrested. This defense is only successful, when there is no other evidence connecting the client to the crime. For example, arguing mistaken identification is virtually impossible if the complainant’s wallet is found in the client’s pants pocket.

Alibi

Another defense to Robbery charges is that the Client was not the one who committed the crime because he was elsewhere at the time that a Robbery occurred. Thus, it is impossible that the client was the one who committed the robbery. Alibi can be established through witness statements, cell phone records, credit card receipts, GPS records and EZ pass receipts. However, if the alibi defense will be asserted at trial, under New York Criminal Procedure Law, the prosecution must be given alibi notice within a short time period after arraignment.

Duress

Another possible defense to New York Robbery charges is duress. Duress is a theory that you would not have committed the crime or otherwise engaged in criminal conduct unless you were doing it to avoid physical harm to yourself or someone close to you. This means, if you were forced to participate in the robbery and if you didn’t participate, your child would be harmed, then you have a strong duress defense to your New York Robbery charge.

Contact an Experienced New York Robbery Attorney Today

If you are facing New York robbery charges, it is important that you consult an experienced NY Robbery Attorney regarding your case. We are available 24/7 for consultations regarding your New York robbery case. Contact us today to discuss your case.