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New Jersey Robbery Laws

There's a close relationship between theft and robbery. In New Jersey, theft occurs when there's an unlawful taking or control of another person's property with the intent to deprive the owner of their property rights indefinitely. The offense is elevated to robbery based on the thief's use of violence or threat of force and other conduct during the course of the theft (or attempted theft) or immediately following the act. For example, taking an individual's mobile phone from their desk with the intent to deprive them of the item is theft; however, threatening that individual with a knife in an attempt to take the phone is robbery.

New Jersey Robbery Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of New Jersey's robbery laws, including links to important code sections.


  • New Jersey Statutes 2C:15-1 (Robbery)

Elements of the Crime

Robbery in the Second Degree: Most of the robberies in New Jersey are classified as second degree, unless the actor engages in statute specified conduct elevating the crime to the first degree.

Robbery in the First Degree: A robbery is in the first degree, if during the commission of the theft , the actor does the following:

  • Attempts to kill anyone or purposefully inflicts or attempts to inflict serious bodily injury; or
  • Commits or threatens immediately to commit any crime of the first degree or the second degree; or
  • Is armed with or uses or threatens the immediate use of a weapon.

Bodily Injury: The actor threatens the victim with bodily injury or places them in fear of immediate bodily injury. Bodily injury refers to physical harm, pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition. The victim doesn't actually have to suffer bodily injury; it is enough that the actor made threats or placed the victim in fear.

First Degree or Second Degree Crime Committed or Attempted: During the commission of the theft, the actor commits or attempts to immediately commit a first degree or second degree crime such as arson, kidnapping, or sexual assault.

Use of Weapon: To satisfy this element, the actor doesn't have to actually use a weapon. For example, if the thief threatened the use of a weapon accompanied with gestures indicating the existence of the weapon and a reasonable person would believe this, then this conduct would fulfill the requirement.


The specific penalties depend on the details of the case; the following are general guidelines.

Second degree: 5-10 years in prison First degree: 10-20 years in prison

Related Offenses

  • Carjacking: New Jersey Statutes 2C:15-2
  • Theft: New Jersey Statutes 2C:20-3

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

New Jersey Robbery Laws: Related Resources

Talk to a New Jersey Attorney about Robbery Charges

Violating New Jersey's robbery laws is much more severe than committing a theft offense due to the added element of violence. If you're facing charges, then consider talking to an experienced attorney who can assist in evaluating the strength of the case against you. Contact a local criminal defense attorney today.

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