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What to know if you’re facing robbery charges in New Jersey

There are two primary types of robbery charges here in New Jersey: First degree and second-degree.

Which of these prosecutors decide to charge you with is contingent upon the nature of the crime you’re alleged to have committed. Knowing the difference between these offenses can help you better strategize your defense.

How do New Jersey’s robbery charges differ?

A first-degree robbery is more serious than a second-degree offense, but the vast majority of robberies in this state are classified as robbery in the second degree.

Prosecutors are most apt to charge a defendant with robbery in the first degree when they commit theft while engaging in other activities that violate the state statute. Prosecutors will likely upgrade a charge to robbery in the first when a defendant:

  • Threatens to or actually uses a weapon during the heist
  • Intentionally tries to inflict serious bodily injury upon another (whether they succeed or not) or tries to kill someone during the theft
  • Either commits or threatens to commit another crime of the first or second degree during the robbery, such as kidnapping

It’s important to note that using even a pretend weapon — like a toy gun or a finger gun in a coat pocket — can escalate the charges to robbery in the first degree if a reasonable person would have believed that they were armed at the time.

What types of punishments exist for robbery here in New Jersey?

A defendant convicted on first-degree robbery charges may face 10-20 years behind bars, while second-degree robbery charges carry a prison term between five and 10 years. 

Prosecutors are aggressive in trying cases involving violent offenses such as robbery. Working with an experienced defender is the best way to protect your rights and navigate the troubled legal waters ahead.