Queens Robbery Defense Attorney
Many people who have not had much contact with the criminal justice system mix up the different types of theft crimes. Robbery is theft that involves force or the immediate threat of force. This can be contrasted with theft or “larceny,” which is taking without force; or burglary, which is typically theft from someone’s home – but can include conduct that is not theft at all.
If you have been charged with robbery in Queens, you may be wondering what exactly counts as robbery, and what the potential penalties are. This guide was designed by Sullivan and Galleshaw, LLP to help clients, and possible future clients, understand what to expect with their robbery charges. If you have been charged with robbery in Queens, and need a criminal defense attorney, call Sullivan and Galleshaw at (800) 730-0135.
What Counts as Robbery in New York?
Robbery is defined in N.Y. Penal Law § 160.00 in pretty simple terms: “Robbery is forcible stealing.” The statute does go into more detail, and explains that “force” means use, or the threat of, immediate physical force against another person. That means that calling someone up and saying, “Give me the money, or I’ll drive over there and stab you,” would not be robbery, because the threat of force is not immediate.
The force can be used a few different ways and still count as robbery. First, if the force or threat of force is to take something directly from a person, or to get them to hand something over, that counts. Note that taking something by a very slight amount of force, such as the force used to lift a wallet from someone’s purse, should not count as “force” for robbery. Second, the force can be used immediately after the taking, in order to keep the property. For example, if you snatch money from an open cash register, then push the teller away from you and run, that is still robbery. Third, the force can be used to make someone else steal for you or help you. For example, you threaten a teller into opening the cash register, then he runs away and you take the register’s money. That is still robbery because the threat helped you take the money, even though you didn’t take the money from the teller himself.
Some states say that stealing “from the presence” of another person is robbery, even if there was no force used. New York’s statute is not written that way – there must be force or a threat of force, or else the crime is larceny, not robbery.
Levels of Robbery
Robbery is broken down into three different degrees: first, second, and third. Third degree robbery is the lightest of the three, with the lowest penalties, and first degree is the worst. Since robbery is an interpersonal crime, not just a property crime, these are all pretty severe crimes. First degree robbery is a class B felony, second degree is class C, and third degree is class D.
Third degree robbery is a catch-all provision; any time someone forcibly steals property, it counts as at least third degree robbery.
Second degree robbery requires forcible stealing, but also one of the following:
- Someone else helps the defendant steal
- During or immediately after the crime, a participant in the robbery hurts someone else or brandishes a firearm, or something that looks like a firearm – even if it is not loaded
- The stolen property is a car
First degree robbery is reserved for robberies where there is injury, or a serious threat. That means that a theft, by force, where a participant in the robbery does any of the following, is first degree robbery:
- Causes serious injury to a victim or bystander
- Is armed with a deadly weapon
- Uses or threatens to use a “dangerous instrument” which includes non-weapons like cars to cause or threaten harm
- During or immediately after the crime, a participant in the robbery brandishes what looks like a loaded gun. If the gun is not in fact loaded, or is not actually a gun, then it is second degree robbery instead.
Criminal Penalties for Robbery
Since all robberies are felonies, they certainly carry the potential for time in prison. Prison, as opposed to jail, is where convicted criminals spend more than a year of imprisonment. Jails house convicted criminals for less than one year, plus people awaiting trial who have not yet been found guilty.
First degree robbery is a class B felony with five to twenty-five years in prison, second degree robbery is a class C felony, with three and a half to fifteen years in prison, and third degree robbery is a class D felony with two to seven years in prison. These penalties may change drastically depending on criminal history and other factors.
Let Our Queens Robbery Defense Lawyers Fight for You
If you have been charged with robbery in Queens, and you need an experienced criminal defense to fight your charges, call Sullivan and Galleshaw. With over thirty years of combined experience, Sullivan and Galleshaw will fight for you. Call (800) 730-0135 for a consultation.