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Robbery in the First Degree: NY Penal Law 160.15

Brace yourself. Remain calm. Think rationally. Pause. If you are arrested by the NYPD in New York City or the county, sheriff, or local municipal police in a Hudson Valley town, village or city, such as any of those in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess or Orange, and charged with First Degree Robbery, you will without a shadow of a doubt have a tumultuous road ahead. While as terrifying as it may and likely will be, by no means is an arrest for New York Penal Law 160.15 a guarantee that you will ultimately serve the twenty-five years in prison allowable by law upon conviction. Although Robbery in the First Degree is by far the most severe and serious degree of Robbery, just like any other crime, the right criminal defense attorney can provide you with the best defense to limit your exposure, challenge the allegations and formulate the strongest means to confront your felony complaint, indictment or evidence at trial.

If you arm yourself with knowledge and education, secure the evidence needed to defend yourself against the District Attorney and thoroughly build your case, what is bleak now may be quite different as your case progresses.

First Degree Robbery: Understanding the Crime of NY Penal Law 160.10

First Degree Robbery, pursuant to NY Penal Law 160.10, is a violent crime punishable by no less than five years and a maximum of twenty-five years in a state prison. In other words, without any criminal history, if you fail to adequately defend yourself, you will find yourself incarcerated for at least five years. Period. Like the lesser degrees of Robbery, Robbery in the First Degree requires a forcible stealing of property. However, to ascend to PL 160.10, additional actions or elements are required.

First Degree Robbery: New York Penal Law 160.15(1)

If you forcibly steal property and during that theft, taking, or fleeing from the same, you or another person involved in the Robbery causes an injury meeting the legal threshold of “serious physical injury” to any non-participant, then you have committed NY Penal Law 160.15(1). “Serious physical injury” is that which causes a real risk of death, disfigurement or long-term impairment and not merely a knocked-out tooth, broken finger or bruised ribs.

First Degree Robbery: New York Penal Law 160.15(2)

Have a firearm or similar weapon? If you allegedly stole property with or by a show of force and either you or another person allegedly involved in this wrongful taking was armed with a deadly weapon during the course of the crime or flight from it, you are guilty of NY Penal Law 160.15(2).

First Degree Robbery: New York Penal Law 160.15(3)

Not merely possessing a deadly weapon, if you threaten that you have and will use a dangerous instrument to facilitate a Robbery or do the same while fleeing from this alleged conduct, or your “partners” do so, expect prosecutors to seek Grand Jury indictment for your violation of NY Penal Law 160.15(3).

First Degree Robbery: New York Penal Law 160.15(4)

If you forcibly steal property and during that theft or flight therefrom, you or another participant actually displays a firearm, then the District Attorney will likely pursue First Degree Robbery charges pursuant to NY Penal Law 160.15(4). It is important to realize, and potentially discuss with your legal counsel, that it is an affirmative defense, one that you, the accused, must establish, that the gun in question was not operable, not loaded, etc. Assuming you are successful in establishing this defense, it does not preclude prosecution for Robbery in the Second or Third Degrees but limits your exposure away from the First Degree offense.

Although the above definitions are fairly clear, they contain critical legal language that someone unfamiliar with the criminal law may not understand. For example, how does physical injury differ from serious physical injury? How far must one go before one’s actions establish a displaying of a firearm or what appears to be one? What about the old finger underneath the shirt trick? Is that pretending to have a firearm criminal in violation of the criminal code?

There can be no mistake. Robbery in the First Degree, and to an ever so slightly lesser extent Robbery in the Second and Third Degrees, is a serious offense. To fully grasp the charges as well as to ascertain your best defense, consult with an experienced New York Robbery lawyer. Know that that in your time of great fear and need, the former Assistant District Attorneys and New York criminal lawyers at Saland Law are not merely experienced, but have the knowledge and skill to best advocate on your behalf.

Call our criminal lawyers and former NY County Assistant District Attorneys at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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