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Robbery in the second degree involves stealing from another person while using force or the threat of force.

According to New York Penal Code § 160.10, a person can be prosecuted for robbery in the second degree when he steals property with force AND:

1. He is aided by another person actually present; OR

2. In the course of the commission of the crime or of immediate flight therefrom, he or another participant in the crime:

(a) Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; OR

(b) Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm; OR

3. The property consists of a motor vehicle, as defined in section one hundred twenty-five of the vehicle and traffic law.

Robbery in the second degree is a class C felony.


You will be faced with a second degree robbery charge if you use any kind of gun or firearm as a weapon of your choice. According to New York Penal Law Section 160.10, it is not required that the gun be displayed during the robbery. It is sufficient enough if the gun was displayed only during flight after the robbery. Also, keep in mind that the law also does not require that the gun being displayed is an actual real gun. The statute only requires that you display something that appears to be gun to threaten and scare off the victim.


If you physically injure the victim, in any way, you will be charged with robbery in the second degree. This also applies to a third party getting physically injured, who may not have been the target, but happened to be present and injured during the robbery. Any physical injury to the targeted victim, or a third party, caused by you during the robbery, will result in the charge. Under New York law, “physical injury” means an injury that causes substantial pain or the impairment of a person’s physical condition. The extent of physical injuries inflicted onto the victim typically don’t play a role in the defendants conviction of robbery in the second degree. Minor injuries are treated just as the more serious injuries. 


You will face this charge if you are aided by another person who is present during the robbery, regardless if said person was directly involved in the robbery of the victim. This is referred to as accomplice liability. For example, if you approach the victim at a gas station in the middle of the night, and your friend is on the lookout for the police, then your friend will be charged as an accomplice robbery in the second degree, even though he didn’t have any direct contact with the victim.


Regardless of any other factor, if you steal a motor vehicle as defined by the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL), you will be charged with, at the minimum, robbery in the second degree. “Motor vehicle” is defined as any vehicle operated or driven upon a public highway which is propelled by any power other than muscular power. This type of robbery is otherwise known as a carjacking. In order to steal a car, it is not necessary that you actually drive it. It is only necessary that you apply control over the vehicle. For example, you successfully threatened a person to hand over their car keys to you. However, the victims car had a device installed that prevented robbers from driving off. Not driving the stolen car would be just as adequate in a charge of second degree robbery, as it would be driving it.


If you are convicted of robbery in the second degree you are facing a minimum of 3.5 years in prison. In addition to that, your sentence may include compensations, fines, and post-release supervision.


Since robbery in the second degree is a Class C felony, the maximum prison sentence is typically 15 years. However, the definite length of your prison sentence will mostly depend on your prior criminal record(s). Based on your criminal record, your various number and levels of offenses, if any, will be contributed to determining the actual length of your prison sentence for robbery in the second degree. If you or someone you care about has been charged with robbery in New York City, you need a criminal defense lawyer.

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. This blog post does not constitute legal advice. Prior Results Do Not Guarantee Similar Outcome.

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