Under California law, a robbery, in violation of California Penal Code sections 211 through 215, is a very serious offense. Robbery is considered a “strike” offense under California’s Three Strikes law. If you are convicted of robbery, you will face state prison time, massive fines, and a “strike” on your record, which results in even harsher penalties if you are ever convicted of another crime.
If you or a loved one is charged with robbery in Los Angeles County or elsewhere in Southern California, it is essential that you contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer to fight for you.
Robbery Convictions in California
In robbery cases, it does not matter what the property at issue is. Even if the property stolen is virtually worthless, a person can be still charged with a robbery. Likewise, even if a person does not actually possess the stolen property, he or she can still be charged with robbery.
To be convicted of robbery, the prosecution must prove:
- The defendant took somebody else’s property
- The property was taken from another person’s possession and “immediate presence”
- The property was taken against that person’s will
- The defendant used force or fear to take the property or to prevent the person from resisting
- The defendant intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently or keep it for an extended period of time
In California there are two degrees of robbery. First degree robbery includes carjacking, a robbery which occurs inside an inhabited dwelling, and robbery of a person who is using or has just used an ATM machine. All other robberies are considered second degree robbery.
A first degree robbery conviction can carry as punishment a maximum prison term of nine years (and more if a firearm is involved). Second degree robbery convictions carry a maximum prison term of two, three or five years.
Theft vs. Robbery
If force or fear is not used to acquire the property, it is a theft, not a robbery. Theft is a lesser offense than robbery. While all robberies are a form of theft, not all thefts are robberies. Thefts, however, are frequently overcharged as robberies, for example:
- A person is accused of snatching a purse or a chain from another person and charged with robbery. This may not be robbery; this may be a theft, a lesser offense with lesser penalties.
- A person is accused of shoplifting and pushing past a security guard while running out of the store. This also may be charged as a robbery, but in reality may be a theft.
If you or a loved one is accused of robbery, you should contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer to begin fighting for you. Key witnesses must be interviewed and steps must be taken to protect important evidence that may be the key to your or a loved one’s freedom. Call an experienced robbery defense lawyer right away to ensure the best possible outcome.
California Penal Code 211-215 – Robbery
Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.
The fear mentioned in Section 211 may be either:
- The fear of an unlawful injury to the person or property of the person robbed, or of any relative of his or member of his family; or,
- The fear of an immediate and unlawful injury to the person or property of anyone in the company of the person robbed at the time of the robbery.
(a) Every robbery of any person who is performing his or her duties as an operator of any bus, taxicab, cable car, streetcar, trackless trolley, or other vehicle, including a vehicle operated on stationary rails or on a track or rail suspended in the air, and used for the transportation of persons for hire, every robbery of any passenger which is perpetrated on any of these vehicles, and every robbery which is perpetrated in an inhabited dwelling house, a vessel as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code which is inhabited and designed for habitation, an inhabited floating home as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, a trailer coach as defined in the Vehicle Code which is inhabited, or the inhabited portion of any other building is robbery of the first degree.
(b) Every robbery of any person while using an automated teller machine or immediately after the person has used an automated teller machine and is in the vicinity of the automated teller machine is robbery of the first degree.
(c) All kinds of robbery other than those listed in subdivisions (a) and (b) are of the second degree.
(a) Robbery is punishable as follows:
(1) Robbery of the first degree is punishable as follows:
(A) If the defendant, voluntarily acting in concert with two or more other persons, commits the robbery within an inhabited dwelling house, a vessel as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, which is inhabited and designed for habitation, an inhabited floating home as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, a trailer coach as defined in the Vehicle Code, which is inhabited, or the inhabited portion of any other building, by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or nine years.
(B) In all cases other than that specified in subparagraph (A), by imprisonment in the state prison for three, four, or six years.
(2) Robbery of the second degree is punishable by imprisonment in
the state prison for two, three, or five years.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 664, attempted robbery in violation of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison.
Every person who goes upon or boards any railroad train, car or engine, with the intention of robbing any passenger or other person on such train, car or engine, of any personal property thereon in the possession or care or under the control of any such passenger or other person, or who interferes in any manner with any switch, rail, sleeper, viaduct, culvert, embankment, structure or appliance pertaining to or connected with any railroad, or places any dynamite or other explosive substance or material upon or near the track of any railroad, or who sets fire to any railroad bridge or trestle, or who shows, masks, extinguishes or alters any light or other signal, or exhibits or compels any other person to exhibit any false light or signal, or who stops any such train, car or engine, or slackens the speed thereof, or who compels or attempts to compel any person in charge or control thereof to stop any such train, car or engine, or slacken the speed thereof, with the intention of robbing any passenger or other person on such train, car or engine, of any personal property thereon in the possession or charge or under the control of any such passenger or other person, is guilty of a felony.
(a) “Carjacking” is the felonious taking of a motor vehicle in the possession of another, from his or her person or immediate presence, or from the person or immediate presence of a passenger of the motor vehicle, against his or her will and with the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person in possession of the motor vehicle of his or her possession, accomplished by means of force or fear.
(b) Carjacking is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of three, five, or nine years.
(c) This section shall not be construed to supersede or affect Section 211. A person may be charged with a violation of this section and Section 211. However, no defendant may be punished under this section and Section 211 for the same act which constitutes a violation of both this section and Section 211.
Fast action is important in robbery cases. For a free and confidential consultation, call Los Angeles robbery defense attorney Jerod Gunsberg at (323) 633-3423 or get in touch via the secure contact form on this page. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.