While most states refer to their criminal offenses as misdemeanors or felonies, New Jersey is different. If authorities charge you with a “crime” in this state, you are likely facing very serious charges, which may be felonies in other states.
In most cases, a criminal act is more likely to result in severe charges, such as a felony or a crime, when the threat of harm to the victim is higher. The more severe the charge, the higher the likelihood of harsh penalties for a conviction. Theft and robbery are two such examples. If you are facing charges for robbery, you have much more reason for concern than for a theft charge.
The elements of the crime of robbery
Theft occurs when someone takes property that belongs to someone else and has no intention of returning it. For example, if someone takes your wallet from your desk drawer, that person may face theft charges. Robbery is much more complicated and significantly more dangerous. If police have arrested you for robbery, it may be because they believe you were involved in any of the following situations:
- Threatening violence while committing a theft
- Displaying a weapon, even with no intention or movement indicating the intention to use it
- Creating a reasonable fear of harm in the person you allegedly robbed
- Attempting to inflict injury while committing a theft
- Attempting to kill someone while committing a theft
- Threatening any violent action, such as kidnapping, sexual assault, arson or murder, while in the process of committing a theft
Even if no one suffered harm during the theft, if the threat of injury was enough to cause fear in the person authorities accuse you of robbing, your future may be in jeopardy.
Sentencing for a conviction
The penalties for robbery can vary significantly, and the details of the case can make quite a difference in the outcome. If you face a second degree crime, you are at risk of penalties that include between five and 10 years in prison. A first degree conviction may result in a sentence between 10 and 20 years. You may also face different charges if you used a weapon during the robbery. It is not difficult for the charges to accumulate quickly in such circumstances.
Because there is so much at stake when you are dealing with serious criminal charges, you would be wise not to face these facts alone. A seasoned criminal defense attorney may help you obtain a more positive resolution to your case.