If you have been charged with robbery, there is cause for alarm because you could be facing a long time behind bars. Robbery is penalized depending on the severity of the crime; however, the least punishment is a one year prison sentence. Read on to learn more about what robbery entails, what needs to be proven, the different degrees of the crime and the punishment for each.
What is Robbery?
Robbery like theft implies taking a valuable item from someone. However, robbery involves using violence or force, or the threat of violence or force, during the execution of the offense.
Proof in a Robbery Charge
The basic elements needed to prove a robbery are as follows:
3rd Degree Robbery
This form of robbery involves taking property through force or by using a lethal weapon. In most states, 3rd degree robbery is a felony. In New York, it is a “Class D” felony that subjects a person to seven years in prison. In other states, a person will be sentenced for 3rd degree robbery considering their criminal background. Additionally, some enhancements, known as aggravating factors, may raise the punishment for robbery. For example, if robbery involved assault with a lethal weapon, the penalty will be severe than a robbery committed without a weapon.
2nd Degree Robbery
This occurs when a person commits a robbery with the assistance of an accomplice. It also occurs when the perpetrator injures an innocent person or uses a deadly weapon like a knife or gun while executing the offense. Car theft is a typical example of this form of robbery.
In New York, 2nd degree robbery is a “Class C” felony that subjects a person to a maximum of fifteen years in prison.
1st Degree Robbery
A robbery is classified as first degree when the victim, or an innocent person, sustains serious injuries during the execution of the crime. This type of robbery also applies to cases where the perpetrator has a deadly weapon and intimidates the victim with it.
In New York, 1st degree robbery is a “Class B” felony that subjects a person to a maximum of twenty five years in prison.
In any criminal prosecution, such as a robbery, the government bears the burden of proof. This means that they should beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offense. This means that an accused robber can easily avoid being convicted by undermining the prosecution’s evidence. The defendant should not necessarily convince the court that they are innocent; however, provided they can cause reasonable doubt, they should be acquitted.
A defendant can use intoxication to fight a robbery charge. Involuntary intoxication is where the intoxication happened against the defendant’s will. Voluntary intoxication is where the defendant gets drunk willingly. The question arising in a defense based on voluntary intoxication is whether the defendant would have been able to form the intent of executing robbery. Such a defense would cause the defendant to get a lesser charge.
If a person provokes the defendant to commit robbery, the defendant can use the entrapment defense. Though these defenses are not easy to prove, if the defendant is able to show that the victim of a robbery provoked them with the intention of charging the defendant, the entrapment defense will hold.
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