Westchester and New York City Metro Area Robbery Defense Attorney
Robbery occurs when the suspect physically confronts and forcibly steals property from another person. Any robbery conviction can produce serious penalties; and this is why you should retain seasoned legal counsel immediately upon your arrest in Westchester County and the NYC Metro area. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with a Class D, C or B felony. If found guilty, a prison term of up to 25 years may await you. Circumstances surrounding the offense affect that punishment.
A few include:
- The presence of a weapon and how was it used
- If the victim was assaulted – with or without the weapon – and how seriously the victim was wounded
- Other crimes committed during the robbery and whether they were felonies or misdemeanors
- The number of people involved in the robbery
- If you have previous felony convictions.
The above “aggravating” circumstances may serve as underlying or primary crimes to the robbery. They could “enhance” (or increase) your punishment upon conviction.
Those who are charged with – or are even being questioned about – any robbery offense are best-served to remain silent and immediately call an experienced criminal lawyer. Each and every client of the Law Office of Michael D. Litman receives aggressive and thorough representation. We fully leverage every opportunity for reduced bail, reduced charges, case dismissal, lighter sentences, and alternatives to imprisonment.
New York Robbery Charges Defined
First-degree robbery [N.Y P.L. § 160.15]: A Class B felony. It is charged when an individual forcibly steals property and when, committing the crime, or while fleeing from the crime the individual, or another participant:
- Causes serious physical harm to an innocent person; or
- Is armed with a deadly weapon; or
- Uses or threatens to immediately use a dangerous instrument (including a weapon); or
- Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, or other firearm.
Second-degree robbery [N.Y P.L. § 160.10]: A Class C felony. This crime occurs when an individual forcibly steals property, and any or a combination of the following “aggravating factors” are present during the robbery:
- The individual acts with an accomplice present at the scene; or
During the commission of the robbery, or while fleeing from it, the individual,
or another participant:
- Causes physical injury to an innocent person; or
- Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, or other firearm; or
- The property is an automobile (carjacking).
In our experience, we have learned that there is so little difference in receiving First or Second Degree robbery charges that prosecutorial discretion plays a prominent part into whether the defendant is charged with the Class B or less dire Class C felony offense.
Third-degree robbery [N.Y P.L. § 160.05]: This Class D felony occurs any time the defendant steals something by use or threat of physical force (but the victim is not harmed at the time of the offense). This is considered a non-violent offense.
Penalties upon a Conviction for Robbery, and Defenses to the Charges
- First-degree robbery – 5 to 25 years in prison
- Second-degree robbery – 3 ½ to 15 years in prison
- Third-degree robbery – 5 years of probation or 2 ⅓ to 7 years in prison
Police and prosecutors view robbery as a serious crime because of the brazenness of the crime – threatening a person’s life in order to steal something. Few who are charged with robbery are caught during the crime. Most charges result from investigation, gathering evidence – including forensic – and eyewitness identification, which can be highly subjective. Many can be accused and prosecuted for robbery merely on circumstantial evidence alone, even if there is no physical evidence to support the circumstantial case.
In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant does not have to prove his or her innocence, but giving proof of actual innocence can be a good strategy when the evidence is strong.
Other possible defenses include:
- Mistaken identity
- You believed that you were the true owner of the property that was taken
- Lack of evidence
- Firearm was not loaded or capable of being discharged (for first-degree robbery only)
- Mental disease or defect
If You Are Questioned About a Robbery, Call an Attorney Immediately!
Only a seasoned defense lawyer can accurately assess your charges, give you advice about what to do, and understand your prospects for a possible plea bargain, or acquittal after trial. If you speak to law enforcement investigators or make any decision about your case without being represented by an attorney, it can damage any defense you may have to the crime you are charged with.
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