Robbery is an extremely dangerous crime that is vigorously prosecuted in New Jersey. A conviction can ruin your life, prevent you from getting a job, and will almost certainly involve serving jail time. If you have been charged with robbery in NJ, make sure that you know exactly what it involves and the penalties you face.
What is Robbery?
It is crucial to understand that robbery is not the same as burglary. When we casually say that a person robbed a bank, we really mean they burglarized the bank and robbed the people inside. Remember, robbery involves stealing directly from a person.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, you will be guilty of robbery if you inflict bodily injury, use force upon another, commit a first or second degree crime, or threaten someone with the purpose of putting them in fear of immediate bodily harm during the course of committing a theft.
What this means in plain English is that robbery is stealing from a person through force or threat, and the force or threat must occur contemporaneously with the theft. Force can be simply ripping a purse away from an elderly lady or as severe as shooting a man in the face in order to steal from him. Also, the force or threat may be done for a host of reasons. It might be done to obtain the property (e.g. pointing a gun at a store clerk), retain the property (e.g. point a weapon at a security officer), during flight (e.g. threatening to kill someone if they follow), or to escape or prevent apprehension immediately after the theft (e.g. punching a person after grabbing his bag).
Penalties and Fines
Robbery is a second degree crime, which means you will face 5-10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
However, a robbery charge will become a first degree crime if you do any of the following during the course of the theft:
- Attempt to kill a person
- Inflict serious bodily injury on a person
- Use or threaten a person with a deadly weapon
The law interprets deadly weapon to include any weapon that is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury (e.g. guns, firearms, knives, baseball bats, etc.).
If you are convicted of robbery in the first degree, you will face up to 10-20 years in jail. Most importantly, due to the severity of a robbery charge, NJ requires you to serve 85% of your prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole. This rule applies whether you were charged with robbery in the first or second degree.
What Does the Prosecutor Have to Prove?
In order to convict you, the prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You attempted to or actually committed a theft
- You threatened or used force during the course of that theft
- That force or threat of force actually occurred during the theft or flight from the theft
- You acted intentionally
Remember, all four of these must be established. Make sure to contact an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney who can help show that the prosecutor failed to prove all of these.
The law offices of Carlos Diaz-Cobo is experienced and committed to successfully defending individuals accused of robbery. Call the Law Offices of Carlos Diaz-Cobo at 732-249-1125.