In New York, there are three different levels of Robbery charge, each with different statutory requirements and levels of potential punishment: Robbery in the First Degree, Robbery in the Second Degree, and Robbery in the Third Degree.
Generally speaking, “robbery” in New York includes any focible stealing of property. The key element distinguishing a robbery charge from a petit larceny or grand larceny is the use of force to accomplish the theft. This can be anything from a punch or push to displaying a knife or firearm.
Robbery in the First Degree is a class B violent felony, and the most serious degree of robbery. This charges comes with up to a 25 year prison term upon conviction, and a five year mandatory minimum prison term for a person with no prior felony convictions at all. The type of incident that most people think of when they think of a robbery, such as a gunpoint robbery of a bank teller or cashier, will typically be this most sever Robbery in the First Degree charge.
Robbery in the Second Degree, on the other hand, is a class C violent felony. This is still an extremely serious charge and comes with a 15 year maximum prison sentence if convicted, as well as a 3 1/2 year mandatory minimum. Perhaps the most common scenario that leads to this charge is when a group of unarmed individuals rob another person together.
Lastly, Robbery in the Third Degree is a class D non-violent felony. While this is the least serious degree of robbery in New York, although it still comes with 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison upon conviction as an indeterminate sentence.
District Attorneys’ Offices throughout New York City, as well as Rockland County, Westchester County and throughout New York State, take robbery cases very seriously, and a prosecutor will often be seeking state prison time if there are not unusual or mitigating circumstances.
Robbery cases tend to have the same or similar issues arise over and over. For example, there are often significant issues with identification of the perpetrator, and having an experienced defense attorney who can spot these issues and litigate them effectively is crucial.