Robbery is defined as 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. California Penal Code Section 211. The punishment for robbery can exposes an individual from 2 to 9 years in state prison. Probation may be granted as well. The degree or seriousness of the robbery depends on certain circumstances that were present during the alleged robbery. For example, a first degree robbery occurs when it happens inside a home or dwelling. Further, a robbery committed in concert where 2 or more individuals actively participate in the robbery subject the individuals to the higher sentencing term.
To prove the defendant is guilty of robbery, the District attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements.
- The defendant took property that was not (his/her) own. If the defendant had a possessory interest in the property, he/she can not be convicted of robbery.
- The property was taken from another person's possession and immediate presence. There may be an argument that a robbery did not occur if the property or item was far away from the victim. It must be within the victim's physical control.
- The taking was against the person's will. An act is done against a person's will if that person does not consent to the act.
- The defendant used force or fear to effectuate the taking. The forced must be used against the victim and must be more than the incidental touching necessary to take the property. It is still robbery if force is used to keep the victim from immediately attempting to retrieve the property. This type of robbery is commonly know as an Estes robbery.
- The defendant intended to deprive the owner of the property. The intent must be formed before or during the time force or fear is used against the victim. If the defendant only formed the intent to take the property after the use of force or fear, then there is no robbery.
Common defenses to robbery include evidence that no force was actually used to take property, or that there is lack of evidence to show the defendant had the required intent when the property was taken.
Robbery is a serious offense. Not only can it expose you to a max of 9 years in State prison, It also is considered a strike. A strike will require that you serve 85% of your time. Further, if you are convicted of a later felony and denied probation, the strike will double your sentence and require that it be served in state prison. If you are charged with a violation of Penal Code section 211, namely a robbery, it is important to hire a competent criminal defense attorney who will fight for you and explore all options that will result in an outright dismissal. Robbery charges can also be negotiated down to a lesser, non-serious offense such as petty theft or receipt of stolen propery.