In California, the theft crime of robbery is punished by California Penal Code § 211. The simplicity in the wording of Penal Code §211 gives the state the ability to charge an individual, or group of individuals, with robbery in a wide range of situations. All that is required is that property be taken from another by means of threat, force, or some other action that may place the victim in fear.
Any action that creates an apprehension of fear in the victim of any unlawful entry onto property, harm to the victim, or harm the victim’s loved one or their property will be sufficient for the prosecution to bring a case under this section. Even a false threat of violence will constitute robbery, even though there was no possibility of actual threat of harm to the victim. Also, the force can be very slight or even reflexive to the force of another.
Penalties for Robbery in California
Robbery is a felony and can be charged in either the first or second degree. Because Penal Code §211 is classified as both a “Serious” and “Violent” felony, it will serve as a “Strike” conviction for the purposes of the California “Three Strikes” law.
Under Penal Code §212.5, any robbery that occurs in an inhabited structure, on a passenger or person operating a vehicle used for public transportation, or of any person using an ATM machine, will be robbery in the first degree which carries a state prison sentence of 3 to 9 years.
Any other situation of robbery will be robbery in the second degree and will carry a sentence of 2 to 5 years. If the robbery is facilitated with the use of a firearm this will add an additional 10 years to the sentence and if the gun is discharged during the robbery the sentence may be enhanced by 20 years.
Because robbery in either first or second degree will count as a strike on your record, if there is a prior strike on your record, the instant robbery offense will bring double the maximum prison sentence otherwise allowable under this section.
Fighting Robbery Charges in Southern California
In California, a person committing a petty theft offense can be charged with robbery when the defendant resists or flees apprehension from the premises after an attempts to detain the defendant are made by store security, even where no weapons or actual force are applied.
A famous case here in California resulted in the defendant being convicted of robbery for little more than shrugging off a security guard’s attempt to detain the defendant as he made his way to the exit of a department store during a petty theft. Therefore, the force or fear need not be as aggressive or offensive as one would normally believe, however the punishments can still be very severe.
Do you need a skilled defense attorney in San Diego?
Whatever the facts specific to your case may be, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced and aggressive San Diego criminal defense attorney so that you may determine the best avenue in ensuring your liberty and rights are protected. The criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Marc S. Kohnen has been able help many people through these difficult and delicate matters involving charges under PC §211.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with robbery, please feel free to contact us for a free and confidential consultation about your options in this difficult time.