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Do you know what defines 'robbery' in New York?

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

-- Entrapment

-- Duress

-- 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

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Robert D. DiDio
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