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NY Supreme Court Decides if Crime Supports a First Degree Robbery Charge


H C was charged with two counts of attempted robbery in the first degree stemming from an incident that occurred on January 20, 1981. Allegedly, he attempted to grab bags from two women standing on a subway platform. Mr. C was unsuccessful in attempting to steal either bag. Additionally, Mr. C was charged one count of first degree robbery and one count of attempted first degree robbery for stealing a bag from another woman who was standing on a subway platform. Mr. C’s criminal defense attorney filed a motion to dismiss these charges based on the arguments that the events that were reported did not satisfy the elements of robbery or attempted robbery. Under New York law, robbery in the first degree and attempted robbery in the first degree require an element of force, threat or use of a dangerous instrument, such as a gun, knife or other weapon. This differs from other crimes involving theft of property, such as larceny or burglary.

The New York County Supreme Court was charged with determining whether the facts of the crime supported a first degree robbery charge. After reviewing the the Grand Jury proceedings, the court held that the evidence presented was sufficient to charge Mr. C with first degree robbery and first degree attempted robbery.

Mr. C was on a moving subway train when he attempted to snatch the victims’ bags. The victim of the completed robbery testified that she felt a tug on her fingers as Mr. C grabbed the bag and that her coat was ripped during the crime. The court argued that this constituted proof that force was used or was attempted in committing the robberies and that the subway train could be classified as a dangerous instrument due to the possibility that the victims could have been dragged onto the tracks as Mr. C attempted to grab their bags. Based on this conclusion, the court held that a first degree robbery charge was As such, Mr. C’s motion to dismiss was denied.

Attempting to steal someone else’s property can potentially lead to serious consequences, particularly if you’re charged with robbery, rather than larceny or theft. Robbery is a felony in the state of New York and if convicted, you may face a lengthy prison sentence.

If you’ve been charged with robbery or another serious crime such as burglary, hiring an experienced New York Criminal Defense Lawyer is the first step in protecting your rights. Contact the law firm of Stephen Bilkis and Associates at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW to speak with a member of our criminal defense team. You can also discuss your case in person by visiting one of our many New York area office locations. Don’t hesitate to get the legal representation you need to fight a New York robbery charge.

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