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NY Penal Law § 160.05: Robbery in the third degree

Robbery is one of several theft crimes defined in New York Penal Law. The primary element that distinguishes robbery from grand larceny, petit larceny, embezzlement, and burglary is that robbery involves the use of physical force or the threat of violence. There are three different robbery offenses: robbery in the third degree, second degree and first degree. Robbery in the third degree is the least serious charge. This is the charge that you will face if you committed a robbery, but you did not use a deadly weapon, you did not use a dangerous instrument, you did not steal a vehicle, you did not have an accomplice, and the victim did not suffer a physical injury. Under New York Penal Code § 160.05 you will be prosecuted for robbery in the third degree if while committing larceny you use or threaten to use physical force in order to prevent the victim from resisting or overcome resistance from the victim. Or you use physical force or the threat of physical force in order to compel the victim to turn over the property. Even though robbery in the third degree is the least serious robbery charge, it is still a felony.


In the case of People v. Sullivan, 070314 NYAPP4, 2014-05062 (July 3, 2014), defendant Darren Sullivan was confronted by store security as they suspected that Sullivan had placed unpaid for merchandise in a bag. When store security attempted to prevent Sullivan from leaving with the merchandise, Sullivan threatened to use force and was able to leave with the merchandise. It is important to note that if Sullivan had not used threats in order to retain the stolen merchandise and leave the store, the case would have been a larceny case.

Related Offenses
  1. Burglary in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 140.20
  2. Criminal possession of stolen goods in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 165.50

In order to convict you of robbery in the third degree, the prosecutor must show that you used force or the threat of force. Merely making an aggressive demand for property is not enough, nor is breaking into a building enough to be convicted of robbery in the third degree. For example, in People v. Johnson, 972 N.Y.S.2d 699 (2013), the defendant's conviction of robbery in the third degree was overturned on appeal. While the defendant did indeed take property from the victim's warehouse, the defendant did not have any weapons, did not use force, and did not threaten violence. According to the defendant's testimony, he placed his hand in his pocket in order find his keys so that he could flee the scene and quickly drive away. There was no evidence that the defendant had his hand in his pocket to make the victim believe that there was a gun in the defendant's pocket.


Because robbery in the third degree is a class D felony the maximum sentence is 7 years in prison. Whether or not you are sent to prison and the length of time you must spend in prison depends largely on your prior criminal record. If you have no prior felony convictions within the previous 10 years it is possible for the judge to not sentence you to any prison time at all. Your sentence may include just probation. If you do have at least one prior felony conviction within the last 10 years the judge will sentence you to at last 2-4 years in prison.

New York Penal Code § 160.05: Robbery in the third degree

A person is guilty of robbery in the third degree when he forcibly steals property.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been charged with robbery in the third degree, it is important that you immediately seek experienced legal guidance. The potential consequences of being convicted of robbery in the third degree involve spending years in prison and paying significant fines. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors in violation of New York state law and federal law. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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