Robbery is a serious criminal charge that can carry a lifetime of consequences. A conviction for robbery can lead to a lengthy prison sentence and cost you thousands of dollars in fines. What's more, a conviction can make it difficult for you ever to obtain housing or employment again. If you’re facing robbery charges in Los Angeles County, contact an experienced Los Angeles robbery defense attorney right away.
The attorneys at Kroger Law Group have a proven track record of defending the rights of those accused of robbery in Los Angeles. Call us for a free consultation at 323-655-5700.What is Robbery in California?
According to California Penal Code Section 211 PC, robbery is the “felonious taking of personal property in possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”
For a crime to be considered robbery, it has to include all of the following elements:
The taking of property in possession of another: The property in question must have been physically on the person or in their immediate vicinity.
Against the property owner's will: If you force someone to give you their property while threatening violence, that person has been coerced and the property was taken against the owner's will.
By means of force or fear: The use of force or fear distinguishes robbery from most other California theft crimes that merely require that property was taken illegally. Force means the use of physical force to wrest away property from another person, while fear is the fear of injury. This can include the fear that harm will come to the victim, a family member, the property itself, or a third party present at the time of the robbery. The prosecutor must show that the taking was done through use of force or fear in order to charge you with robbery.
The prosecutor in your case will have no leeway in how your robbery case is categorized because robbery is always charged as a felony under California law. This means you are facing a potential sentence in state prison if you are convicted. The length of your potential sentence depends on whether you have been charged with first-degree robbery or second-degree robbery.First-Degree Robbery
You will be charged with first-degree robbery if:
- The victim is a driver or passenger of a bus, taxi, cable car, streetcar, trackless trolley, subway, or other transportation for hire;
- The robbery takes place in an occupied residence; or
- The victim is using an ATM.
A conviction for first-degree robbery is punishable by 3, 4, or 6 years in California state prison.
The sentence would be enhanced to 3, 6, or 9 years in California state prison if you committed the robbery within an occupied residence with two or more other people. First-degree robbery also carries a maximum fine of $10,000.Second-Degree Robbery
All robberies that do not qualify as first-degree robberies are considered second-degree robberies under California law.
A conviction for second-degree robbery is punishable by 2, 3, or 5 years in California state prison. In addition, it carries a maximum penalty of up to $10,000.Potential Robbery Legal Defenses in California
The punishment for robbery in California is severe, but thankfully there are a variety of potential legal defenses a robbery defense attorney serving Los Angeles can use to have your charges reduced or even win an acquittal at trial.
Here are some of the most common defenses in a robbery case:
Good Faith Belief: You have a valid legal defense if you honestly believed the property in question belonged to you. This defense can be used even if you were mistaken in that belief.
Innocence: Sometimes the most straightforward defense is the strongest one. A false accusation could stem from mistaken identity, a person seeking revenge, or even a witness with a mental illness.
No use of Force or Fear: Every crime has elements that must be present for a jury to convict you. A critical element to the crime of robbery is the use of force or fear. Even if you meet every other element of robbery, if your attorney can show that you did not use physical force or the fear of harm then you did not commit a robbery.
Lack of Proof: If the prosecutors have no direct evidence such as a confession or eyewitness accounts, they may have a difficult time proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Robbery and burglary are terms that are mistakenly used interchangeably by many people. Even though they sound similar, they are very different criminal offenses. Robbery is the taking of the property of another against their will through the use of force or fear. Burglary is the entering of a structure or vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or felony.
There are limited circumstances where you could be charged with both crimes. For example if you broke into a home with the intent to commit a theft, only to encounter the homeowner. If you then took property directly from the homeowner through the use of force or fear, you would likely be guilty of both burglary and robbery.Hiring the Right Los Angeles Robbery Defense Attorney
A robbery charge is very serious, but can be defensible, and with the right attorney, you may be able to limit the criminal consequences. In some cases, an experienced Los Angeles robbery defense attorney may be able to have the case against you dismissed completely.
If you have been charged with robbery anywhere in Los Angeles County, contact a robbery defense attorney serving Los Angeles right away. Kroger Law Group has years of experience defending those accused of robbery, call us at 323-655-5700 for a free consultation. With potential penalties this severe, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you in your robbery case.