New York Robbery of a Vehicle

Robby is a type of crime of theft that involves stealing by using force or the threat of force. Like other types of theft, just about any type of property can be the object of a robbery, including a vehicle. Robbery of a vehicle is commonly referred to as carjacking. If you use force or the threat of violence in order to convince another person to surrender his or her car to you, you would have committed the crime of robbery of a vehicle. While carjacking can take many forms, it is common for the defendant to approach a victim who is in his or her car and use a gun or knife to force the victim to surrender the car. Because of the use of force or violence used coupled with the high value of a vehicle, robbery of a vehicle is considered a very serious crime. As such if you are accused of robbery of a vehicle you will be charged with robbery in the second degree. If convicted you will be sentenced to several years in prison. You could also be ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines and restitution. Because of the potential consequences of being convicted, if you have been charged with robbery in the second degree based on stealing a vehicle it is important to immediately contact an experienced New York Robbery of a Vehicle Lawyer who will aggressively defend you from the beginning of your case until it is resolved.

Robbery of a Vehicle Charge

If you are accused of robbery of a vehicle you will be charged with robbery in the second degree. While robbery in the second degree is not the most serious robbery charge it does carry a harsh sentence. A "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 would include a car, SUV, pickup truck, minivan, truck, van, or motorcycle. In order to steal a motor vehicle, it is not necessary that you drive it. It is only necessary that you exert control over the vehicle. For example, in People v. Zombo, 813 N.Y.S.2d 624 (2006), defendant Pius Zombo came upon the victim while she was pumping gas in her car. Zombo stuck something in her back and demanded her keys. She gave him the keys. However, the victim's car had an anti-theft device that prevented Zombo from driving the car. Nonetheless, the court upheld Zombo's conviction of robbery in the second degree. Because Zombo took the car keys and attempted to start it Zombo exercised control over the car. This was enough for the court to find that Zombo had indeed committed robbery in the second degree.

Arrest and Arraignment

If you are arrested for robbery in the second degree based on stealing a vehicle first you will be taken to the local police precinct. Within 24 hours of your arrest you will be arraigned. At your arraignment hearing you will learn the exact charges against you. In some cases the charges will be different from what you expected. Based on a review of the evidence, the prosecutor may decide to raise or lower the charges, or to add additional charges. If you are charged with robbery in the second degree based on stealing a car, there is a good chance that you will also be charged with criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, grand larceny or assault. At your arraignment you will also learn whether or not bail will be required.

At some point during the criminal process you may be able to negotiate an agreement with the prosecutor that requires you to plead guilty to a lesser crime such as robbery in the third degree. If you do so you will still be convicted of a crime, but your sentence will be lighter than if you were found guilty of robbery in the second degree after a trial.

Consequences of a Robbery in the Second Degree Conviction

If you are convicted of robbery in the second degree based on stealing a car you will go to prison for at least 3.5 years. In addition, your sentence may include a fine, restitution, and post-release supervision.

Prison

Because robbery in the second degree is a Class C felony, the maximum prison sentence is generally 15 years. However, the actual length of your prison sentence will largely depend on your prior criminal record. Based on your criminal record, you will be labeled as someone who has no prior convictions, someone who is a non-violent predicate offender, someone who is a violent predicate offender, or someone who is a persistent felony offender.

  • Prior convictions: Prior convictions include felony convictions within the last 10 years.
  • Non-Violent Predicate: A non-violent felony conviction within the last 10 years.
  • Violent Predicate: A violent felony conviction within the last 10 years.
  • Persistent Felony Offender: At least 2 prior felony convictions.

If you have no prior convictions the judge will still be required to sentence you to at least 3.5 years in prison because robbery in the second degree is a violent felony. If you are classified as a non-violent predicate offender the court will be required to sentence you to at least 5 years, while if you are classified as a violent predicate offender, you will be sentenced to at least 7 years in prison. If you are a persistent felony offender the sentence will be extremely harsh as the general rule of a maximum of 15 years in prison is disregarded The minimum sentence you will receive is 12-25 years in prison, while the maximum sentence is life in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.08.

Post-Release Supervision

Because robbery in the second degree is a violent felony in addition to being sentenced to prison your sentence will also include a term of post-release supervision of 2.5 to 5 years. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.45(2)(e). While serving your term of post-release supervision you will be supervised by the Division of Parole and subject to several rules.

  • You must not commit a crime
  • You must not associate with other people who you know have criminal records
  • You must not patronize unlawful or disreputable places
  • You must not possess controlled substances or drug paraphernalia
  • You must consent to warrantless searches without probable cause
  • You must submit to home visits by your Parole Officer
  • You must regularly report to your Parole Officer
  • You cannot leave the State of New York without permission
  • You must not own, possess or purchase a gun
  • You must refrain from the excessive use of alcohol
  • You must stick to a curfew
  • You must have job or go to school

Failure to follow any of the post-release supervision rules could result in a violation which may trigger post-release supervision revocation proceedings. If the court finds that you did indeed violate the conditions of your post-release supervision then you may be sent back to prison.

Fines, Fees and Restitution

As part of your sentence the judge may order you to pay fine and restitution to the victim of your crime. The fine would be up to $5,000. Restitution is paid to the victim to cover out-of-pocket expenses that result from the robbery. For example, you may be ordered to pay the value of the stolen vehicle or the value of property that was in the vehicle. If you injured the victim, you may be ordered to pay his or her medical expenses. Generally, the maximum amount of restitution is $15,000. However, the court may increase the amount to more than $15,000 to cover the amount of the victim's medical expenses. You will also have to pay a fee to the company charged with collecting the restitution from you.

Furthermore, you will be required to pay certain fees including a fee that is called a "mandatory surcharge" of $300 as well as a victim assistance fee of $25. N.Y. Pen. Law § 60.35. You may also be required to pay probation or parole supervision fees of $30 per month.

Failure to pay a fine, restitution or fee may result in additional criminal charges as well as incarceration.

If you have been charged with robbery of a vehicle it is important that you immediately seek experienced legal guidance. The potential consequences of being convicted of robbery in the second degree involve spending years in prison and paying significant fines. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with theft crimes such as robbery, grand larceny, and burglary. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of robbery in the following locations:

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