According to a July 24 article in the New York Daily News, a Williamsburg branch of Chase Bank was robbed twice this week, allegedly by the same person. The robberies took place on Monday and Tuesday afternoon, and in both cases the bandit, who was caught on surveillance cameras, handed a teller a note demanding cash. No weapon was displayed during either of the holdups. We can’t speculate on why, having apparently decided that robbing a bank was the order of the day, the individual would return to the original scene of the crime and do it again. On the other hand, the story provides us with the opportunity to review for our readers the robbery laws in New York.
Many bank robberies are prosecuted in federal court under 18 U.S.C. § 2113. Federal jurisdiction over bank heists is the result of the fact that deposits in all U.S. banks are federally insured. Nevertheless, many bank robberies, in particular those involving relatively small amounts of money, are prosecuted under state law, including the laws of New York. Unlike the federal statutory scheme, New York does not have a separate statute governing bank robberies; the general robbery laws, however, apply with equal force when the target is a bank, as opposed to a person or another entity.
Robbery in New York is defined as “forcibly” stealing property. NY Penal Law § 160. Without more, it is robbery in the third degree, a class D felony. If the robbery involves one or more accomplices, or results in a physical injury to non-participant in the crime, or includes the display of what appears to by a firearm, or the property consists of a motor vehicle, it is robbery in the second degree, a class C felony.
Robber in the first degree, a class B felony, is robbery where, during the commission of the offense, or in immediate flight from the scene, the defendant causes serious physical injury to another, or is armed with a deadly weapon, or uses or threatens to use a dangerous instrument, or displays what appears to be a firearm. If the firearm is not loaded or otherwise capable of discharge causing death or serious injury, the crime becomes a lesser form of robbery.
Like most criminal laws, knowing the basics only gets you so far. You need to know how the terms are defined legally, and in the case of robbery, some of those terms are: forcible; deadly weapon; dangerous instrument; immediate flight; firearm; physical injury; and serious physical injury, to name a few. These words are sometimes defined in other statutes, and most are the subject of further interpretation in court decisions. To truly understand any criminal charge, including robbery, you need the advice of an experienced New York criminal lawyer. Call us for a free consultation.
George Vomvolakis Law Offices
275 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016