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New York Robbery with a Gun

Robbery is one of the most common types of crimes in New York and across the country. It is one of a number different theft offenses described in the New York criminal code. It is different from other types of theft in that robbery also involves the use of force. A common weapon used to commit a robbery is a gun. The colloquial term for when a gun is used during a robbery is a "hold up" or a "stick up." For example, when a convenience store or a jewelry store is robbed, a gun is often used as using a gun is usually a good way to convince the victim to comply with your demand for money or merchandise. On the other hand, if you walk into jewelry store and slip a necklace into your pocket, while you have indeed stolen from the store you have not robbed it. If you commit a robbery using a gun you will be charged with a serious criminal offense. If you are convicted the judge could sentence you to prison for many years, and assess a steep fine. In order to fight a robbery with a gun charge, you should immediately contact an experienced New York Robbery with a Gun Lawyer who will explain to you your legal rights and work closely with you to mount an aggressive defense.

Robbery with a Gun Offenses

While there is no specific offense that is called robbery with a gun, there are two robbery charges that you could face if you have a gun while committing a robbery: robbery in the second degree or robbery in the first degree.

Robbery in the second degree is a Class C felony. You will face this charge if while committing robbery you also display what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm. N.Y. Pen. Law §§ 160.10. If you are charged with robbery in the second degree based on displaying a gun, the statute does not require that you display the gun during the robbery. It is sufficient that you displayed the gun during flight after the robbery. For example, in the case of People v. Colon, 984 N.Y.S.2d 438 (2014), defendant Nelson Colon was convicted of robbery in the second degree based on witness testimony that Colon displayed what appeared to be a gun as he fled the scene.

Robbery in the first degree is a Class B felony. Robbery in the first degree is the most serious robbery charge. You will face this if you commit a robbery and you also

  • Are armed with a deadly weapon such as a gun; or
  • Display what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm

N.Y. Pen. Law § 160.15

Arrest and Arraignment

If you are accused of robbery with a gun you will be arrested and taken into custody at the local precinct. You will eventually end up at Central Booking. You will remain there until your case is ready for arraignment. At the arraignment hearing you will go before a judge and the prosecutor will announce the charges against you. If you are charged with robbery with a gun you might also be charged with related crimes such as criminal possession of stolen property or assault. The judge will then make a decision on bail. Depending on how much of a flight risk the court determines you to be, the judge may order that you be held without bail, set the amount of bail, or allow you to be released without bail. Following the arraignment there are several different steps that may occur before your case goes to trial, including a grand jury hearing, motions, meetings and negotiations.

You may be able to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor. A plea agreement can be reached at almost any time during your criminal case up until the jury announces a verdict. They are usually made prior to a case going to trial as both sides often would prefer not to go to trial. A plea agreement, commonly referred to as a plea bargain, is an agreement between you and the prosecutor that would require you to plead guilty in exchange for an agreement by the prosecutor to drop one or more of the charges against you, reduce a charge to a less serious offense, or recommend a lighter sentence than you might otherwise receive. For example, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce the robbery in the first degree charge to robbery in the second degree. The result would be that your sentence would be less severe than if you were found guilty of robbery in the first degree.

Keep mind that even if you plead guilty pursuant to a plea agreement, you will still be convicted of a crime and you will have a criminal record.

Consequences of a Robbery with a Gun Conviction

If you are convicted of first or second degree robbery there is a strong possibility that your sentence will include incarceration, a fine, restitution, and post-release supervision.


Whether or not you are sent to prison and the length of time you must spend in prison depends largely on whether you are convicted of robbery in the first degree or robbery in the second degree. As robbery in the first degree is the more serious crime, your prison sentence will be longer. The general guidelines for robbery with a gun sentencing are as follows:

  • Robbery in the second degree with a gun. The maximum possible sentence is 15 years in prison.
  • Robbery in the first degree with a gun. The maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison.

Because both robbery in the second degree and robbery in the first degree are classified as violent felonies, you will be sentenced to at least 3-6 years in prison even if you do not have any prior felony convictions. If based on your prior felony convictions you are classified as a non-violent predicate offender, a violent predicate offender, or a persistent felony offender, you will be required to serve even more prison time for conviction of any robbery offense. Furthermore, if you are a persistent felony offender, the judge is the not bound by the maximum sentence requirement of 15 years for second degree robbery or 25 years for first degree robbery. If the situation warrants it, the judge can sentence you to up to life in prison.

Other factors that will influence sentencing are the specific facts of the case. For example, if the property that you stole has a particularly high value the judge might consider that to be an aggravating factor and give you a longer prison sentence. Similarly, if in the course of the robbery you caused the victim to suffer particularly severe physical injuries that would be another aggravating factor. Likewise, there may be mitigating factors that would cause the judge to give you less time in prison. For example, the judge will look favorably upon you paying restitution to the victim.

Fines, Fees and Restitution

In addition to sentencing you to prison, as a part of your sentence the judge may also order you to pay a fine and restitution. 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 for the property damaged or stolen, as well as the victim's 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. Furthermore, 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.

If you do not pay a fine, fee or restitution, you may be charged with a misdemeanor and sent to prison for up to a year, your wages may be garnished or the state of New York may obtain a judgment against you. However, if you cannot pay the judge may adjust the payment terms, lower the amount you must pay, or revoke the part of the sentencing requiring you to pay.

Post-Release Supervision

If convicted of robbery with a gun your sentence will also include a term of post-release supervision of up to 5 years. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.45(e). The purpose of post-release supervision is to ensure that when you are released from prison you experience a smooth re-integration into the community. Post-release supervision is overseen by the Division of Parole. Conditions will be placed on you to ensure this smooth re-integration and to help ensure that you do not reoffend:

  • You must not break the law
  • You must not hang around others have criminal records
  • You must not go to unlawful or disreputable places
  • You must not possess or use a controlled substance
  • You must submit to drug testing
  • You must attend a drug or alcohol education class
  • You must refrain from consuming alcohol
  • You must consent to warrantless searches
  • 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
  • If you move you must let your Parole Officer know of your new address or new job
  • You must not possess a gun
  • You must stick to a curfew
  • You must have job or attend school

If you fail to follow the rules associated with your post-release supervision, you risk going back to prison.

Long-Term Consequences

If you are convicted of robbery with a gun there will be consequences that will affect your life even after you serve you complete every aspect of your sentence. You will have a criminal record that includes a violent felony that will make several aspects of your life more challenging such as getting a job. Most employers perform background checks on prospective employees. If a prospective employer discovers your criminal record, that employer may be hesitant to hire you. In addition, you will be barred from getting a license that would allow you to work in certain professions such as practicing law or teaching. You will not be able to own a gun, serve in the military, or serve on juries. Some schools may refuse to admit you. Other schools may admit you but refuse to allow you to live on campus. You will also not be able to receive certain government benefits such as welfare or federally funded housing. You may lose custody of your children. If you are not a U.S. citizen you could be deported.

Robbery with a gun is a very serious charge. If you are convicted you will end up in prison. If you are convicted of the most serious robbery charge you could end up prison for over 2 decades. Because of the dire consequences of being convicted of robbery, it is important to have experienced representation who understands the defenses to robbery charges. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with robbery as well as other types of theft such as petit larceny, grand larceny, embezzlement and burglary. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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