Robbery is a serious offense in the New York Penal Code. Not only does robbery involve stealing or theft, but it also involves the use of violence or the threat of violence as a means of accomplishing the theft.
The statutes of the state of New York classify robbery into three categories, with robbery in the first degree being the most serious derivation of the crime. Due to the severity of the crime, a person convicted of robbery in the first degree may face up to 25 years in prison.
Elements of Robbery in the First Degree
As mentioned, robbery is a form of theft, but a type of crime that is accompanied by violence or the threat of violence. If a person brandishes a deadly weapon while committing a theft, that constitutes robbery. Deadly weapons include guns, knives, metal knuckles, and similar devices or instruments.
A dangerous instrument that is not a weapon per se may be the foundation upon which a robbery charge can be built. A dangerous instrument could be a wide array of different types of items. An item becomes a dangerous instrument not so much because of its design, but because of the manner in which the person brandishing it threatens to use it.
Examples of Robbery in the First Degree
An example of robbery in the first degree is a situation in which the perpetrator pulls a loaded handgun on a person, and demands that individual’s purse or wallet. Another example of robbery is a scenario in which the perpetrator threatens an individual beer bottle, and demands that individual’s watch.
Sentence in a Robbery in the First Degree Case
Robbery in the first degree is a class B felony, which represents one of the most serious type of crimes in New York. As a result, a stiff prison sentence is possible. A person faces the prospect of a prison sentence of up to 25 years. No matter a person’s criminal history, if convicted of robbery in the first degree, an individual must serve a minimum of five years in prison. Criminal history and the facts of a particular case can enhance the sentence imposed by the court.
Restitution is likely to be a part of a sentence in a robbery in the first degree case. In addition, the court may order a fine up to $5,000 in this type of case.
Defenses in a Robbery in the First Degree Case
An experienced NYC criminal lawyer can develop a defense strategy for a person charged with robbery in the first degree. One line of defense would be that the person charges did not actually utilize a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Although a person may still end up guilty of some type of theft crime, eliminating the deadly weapon or dangerous instrument component would result in a less serious charge or conviction.
If a considerable amount of time lapsed from the date the crime allegedly occurred to the time of a person being charged, another defense may be based on what is known as the statute of limitations. In New York, there is a specific time period in which a robbery in the first degree case must be filed against a suspect.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will schedule an initial consultation to discuss and evaluate a robbery in the first degree case. In addition, an attorney will provide answers to any questions a person may have regarding their case. As a matter of practice, a New York criminal attorney charges no fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client about a robbery in the first degree case.