A simple theft can turn into a high-level robbery if the prosecution establishes that you used force in taking another’s property. Robbery is either charged as a first or second degree crime, which will be prosecuted in Superior Court. The New Jersey robbery statute under 2C:15-1 is punishable by 5 – 10 years in state prison for a second degree and if you are charged with a first degree crime of robbery, your exposure increases to 10 – 20 years. When most people think of a robbery, their automatic instinct is to think of bank robbers with guns like something from a scene in a movie. However, most robbery cases involve circumstances that are nothing like that. For instance, we typically represent clients who have been charged with robbery because they were caught shoplifting and pushed the security guard while trying to get away. Once force is used during the commission of a theft, the charges become a robbery.
If you or a loved one has been charged with robbery in Kearny, New Jersey, it is important you speak with an experienced robbery defense attorney who can answer your questions and explore your legal defenses. If you would like to learn more about how we may be able to help you or your loved one, contact us today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation.
Robbery Charges in Kearny, New Jersey
The robbery statute is not intended to facilitate the prosecution of those committing simple theft crimes. Instead, the statute’s intention is in prohibiting people from committing thefts by force, violence, or the threat of violence. Specifically, the statute makes it an offense if, while committing a theft, a person:
- Uses force or injures someone or;
- Causes another to be threatened or in fear of injury; or
- Threatens to, or does commit, a first or second degree crime.
The use of force or injury caused must occur in the “course of committing a theft.” This phrase means that the injury or threat happens during the actual theft itself or while fleeing or in “flight” thereafter. The “flight” element often comes into play when a person is killed or injured when the alleged culprit flees from police. When this occurs, the person arrested may face companion charges for aggravated assault or murder.
Kearny Robbery Offenses Penalties
The severity of the punishment that may occur for an offense of robbery depends on the degree of the charge. Yet, robbery is always a serious felony offense. The amount of prison time you face depends on the degree of crime in your specific case. When it comes to robbery, the minimum degree you can be charged with is a second degree crime. For this degree of robbery offense, you face imprisonment for between 5 and 10 years. You also face a maximum fine of $150,000, a felony conviction on your record, and your DNA will be taken and used to identify you in any future criminal conduct.
First degree robbery charges are even more severe. These charges apply if while attempting to commit a theft, you attempt to kill anyone, or you intentionally cause serious bodily injury, or attempt to cause such injury to another person. You may also be charged with this degree of crime if you threaten someone with or use a deadly weapon. If convicted, you are exposed to prison time of 10 to 20 years and you may be fined up to $200,000. Worst case scenario, if a weapon was used, you can be sentenced to 20 years and have no prospect of being released until you serve 85% of that sentence.
Kearny Robbery Defense Attorneys can Help
The prosecution for a crime of robbery can be complicated depending on the facts of the case, where it is prosecuted, and who the prosecutor is. An allegation concerning this offense must include facts establishing that you committed a theft and that you used force in the course of committing the theft. Some prosecutors or police will try to exaggerate what really happened and elevate a theft charge to a robbery to gain leverage over you. Often, they accomplish this by charging someone with robbery when all that occurred was that the person accidentally knocked someone over or ran into security while running out of the store after shoplifting. Another common example is when two people fight and the winner takes the other person’s phone or wallet. While a fight will typically be considered a disorderly persons offense of Simple Assault, the charges can quickly upgrade to a second degree robbery once you try taking the victim’s personal property which can include something as meaningless as a baseball cap.
The fact is that each case involving robbery charges is complicated, requiring special skill and knowledge to successfully resolve. If you have been charged with robbery in Kearny, our highly skilled Hudson County criminal defense lawyers will uncover the facts and fight for you. Contact us at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation.