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California Criminal Defense

Handling Cases In Ventura County, And Portions Of Santa Barbara And Los Angeles Counties

Law Office of Paul Tyler

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Ventura Robbery Defense Attorney

Robbery Charges in California Are “Strike” Felonies

The crime of robbery is codified at California Penal Code section 211, et seq.  California defines robbery as the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another person, from his or her person or immediate presence, and against his or her will through the use of force or fear.  Unlike theft, robbery specifically involves taking via the use of threats or force.  For that reason, Robbery charges are often taken much more seriously, and robbery convictions are likely to carry a much more severe punishment.  Police, prosecutors, and judges do not take robbery charges lightly, and a robbery conviction can have significant consequences for your career, immigration status, and financial well-being, in addition to landing you in prison for a long period of time.  If you are arrested or charged with Robbery, it is vital that you retain a seasoned and effective California criminal defense lawyer.

Elements of Robbery

To be convicted on charges of robbery, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant took someone else’s property;
  • The victim had possession of the property at the time of the robbery;
  • The property was taken against the victim’s will;
  • The defendant used force or fear to take the property or prevent resistance; AND
  • The defendant’s objective was to permanently deny the victim use or enjoyment of the property

The fear a defendant instills in a victim can be fear of an unlawful injury to the person being robbed or a relative of the victim, or fear of immediate harm to anyone in the vicinity of the robbery.  Unlawful injury includes threatened property damage.

Robbery can be committed in the more obvious fashion, such as holding someone at gunpoint and demanding their money.  But there are also less obvious ways in which robbery can be committed.  For example: breaking into someone’s home while the residents are inside and threatening them before stealing their property; drugging someone and then stealing their wallet; after being caught mid-breaking and entering, threatening the house residents in an attempt to escape.  These actions satisfy all of the essential elements of robbery, meaning that the defendant faces more serious consequences than simple theft.

Degrees and Punishments for Robbery

Certain crimes, such as theft, may be chargeable as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the nature of the specific acts charged.  Robbery, on the other hand, is always a felony and cannot be pled or charged as a misdemeanor.

Robbery can be charged in the first degree or second degree depending on the circumstances, and each carries different penalties.  First-degree robbery involves robbery that takes place in an inhabited dwelling, vessel, floating home, trailer, part of a building, or near an ATM just after the victim used the ATM.  First-degree robbery is punishable by three to nine years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

The base crime of robbery, as described above, qualifies as robbery in the second degree and includes all other forms of robbery.  Robbery in the second degree is punishable by two to five years in prison as well as up to $10,000 in fines.

Robbery can also be aggravated in several ways.  Causing serious bodily harm can earn you up to six additional years in prison, while intentionally discharging a firearm in the course of commission and causing serious bodily harm as a result can result in a life sentence.

Robbery is a Strike Offense in California

Additionally, Robbery falls under California’s “Three Strikes” law.  After three qualifying felony convictions, a defendant will be sentenced to life in prison. Whether you have one, two or no strikes on your record currently, getting a strike from a robbery conviction is a very serious matter, and you’ll want to work hard to avoid getting that strike. Paul Tyler is a dedicated and successful three strikes attorney who knows how to defend criminal charges when the stakes are high.

Defending Against Robbery Charges

In order to convict a defendant on charges of robbery, the prosecution must prove every element noted beyond a reasonable doubt.  Any hole that you or your attorney can poke in the prosecution’s proof of any particular element can derail a conviction.  The prosecution must, for example, prove that you intended to keep the property before taking it — if you intended to borrow the property and ended up keeping it, you might face a different charge.  If you reasonably believed the property belonged to you, or that the owner was voluntarily giving you the property, then you may lack the requisite intent.  Likewise, if no actual force or threats were employed, then you may be able to reduce or eliminate the charge.

Immediate Help with Robbery Charges in Ventura County

To learn more, please call Robbery defense attorney Paul Tyler at 805-889-9000.  He will answer your call personallyYou will not be required to go through a secretary, paralegal or associate attorney. Call 805-889-9000 for a free consultation.