March 18, 2014
In New York State, ROBBERY is forcible stealing. A person forcibly steals property and commits robbery when, in the course of committing a larceny, he uses or threatens the immediate use of physical force upon another person for the purpose of:
1) Preventing or overcoming resistance to the taking of property or to the retention thereof immediately after the taking; or
2) Compelling the owner of such property or another person to deliver up the property or to engage in other conduct which aids in the commission of the larceny
There are three degrees of robbery in NY, and all three are felony level offenses; the lowest, Robbery 3rd, is a Class D non-violent Felony (up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison for a first offense); Robbery 2ndis a Class C violent felony (3 ½ to 15 years); and Robbery 1st a Class B violent felony (5 to 25 years).
The crux of a robbery charge is that the defendant use or merely threatens the immediate use of physical force. Not actually possessing the weapon that the defendant may have threatened to use is no defense. In fact, the use of a specific weapon need not even be threatened. See People v. Vidal, 231 A.D.2d 655, 648 N.Y.S.2d 109 (2d Dept. 1996), “statement ‘do as I tell you and you won’t get hurt,’ involved threat of ‘immediate use of physical force.’”
And often times the only fact elevating the class D non-violent Robbery 3rd to the more severe class C violent Robbery 2nd is the presence of an accomplice.
Any charge of Robbery is a very serious offense. Should you or someone you know be charged with such an offense, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The criminal defense attorneys at Catalano & Carpenter LLP are here to help.