Robbery charges are serious in the state of New York. In order for a person to be convicted of the crime defined as "forcible stealing" in the state's Penal Code under Section 160 however, prosecutors must prove these three elements were present:
-- Defendants committed larceny;
-- Threatened to use, or used an immediate physical force on another person;
-- Had an intent to either effectuate taking the property or retaining it.
Simply establishing all of the above elements is sufficient to convict a defendant of third-degree robbery, which is the lowest degree.
Second-degree robbery charges stem from the following:
-- The defendant was assisted by someone who was physically present;
-- Physically injures a non-participant;
-- Defendant or the other participant displays an object that appears to be a gun, either while committing the robbery or fleeing the scene;
-- A motor vehicle was stolen.
Convictions for first-degree robbery occur if it is proven that:
-- Defendant or another person participating in the robbery inflicts serious physical injuries to non-participants;
-- Is armed with deadly weapons;
-- Either threatens to immediately use a dangerous weapon, or uses one;
-- Displays an object that appears to be a gun, either while committing the robbery or fleeing the scene.
There are some defenses to robbery charges, and they include:
-- The firearm wasn't loaded or capable of discharging
-- Infancy, meaning the accused was 13 or younger
-- Mental defect or disease
All robbery charges are felonies, so sentences and penalties for convictions are steep. Even third-degree convictions can net between three to seven years in prison; first-degree can bring up to 25 years. Due to the serious nature of the consequences if convicted, defendants facing robbery charges should begin immediately to craft a strategic defense to the allegations.
Source: Findlaw, "New York Robbery Laws," accessed Dec. 11, 2015