Sacramento Criminal Lawyer Defines Robbery, Penalties & Sentencing
Robbery is covered by Penal Code 211 which defines it as the taking of personal property from another person or “immediate presence” against that individual’s will using force or fear. Because it is a felony in the state of California, it is important you speak with a Sacramento criminal lawyer who can legally assist you if you’ve been charged of robbery.
There are many ways a robbery can take place. Some examples are below:
- Breaking into a home where people are present and removing their property while threatening to cause physical harm. This is technically referred to as burglary.
- Drugging someone and taking their belongings when they are unconscious or otherwise unable to respond or defend themselves. California is somewhat unique in considering a robbery to have occurred if the use of force manifests in the drugging of the victim.
- Stealing someone’s property (an act of theft) and then threatening that individual when escaping.
To be prosecuted for robbery, the following must be proved:
- The property did not belong to the defendant
- The property belonged to another person
- The property was in the immediate possession of another person
- The property was taken against the will of its owner
- Force or fear was used in the taking of the property
- The defendant intended to take the property permanently or for a long enough period as to deny the owner a significant portion of its value.
Though the above list may seem like a lot is required for a robbery to have taken place, essentially all that is required is the threat of violence and the removal of property to even a nearby location. The robber does not have to keep the property or actually commit violence to be guilty of robbery. It all can happen quite quickly but may result in severe consequences. Contact a Sacramento criminal lawyer immediately if you have been convicted of robbery.
The property also doesn’t have to be in the exact possession of the victim – so long as it’s in that individual’s control it is considered to be in their possession. The property does not even have to be owned by the victim – store employees are considered to have possession of the store items.
The use of force and fear does not actually have to occur to the owner or possessor of the property. Force or fear may be threatened or executed against the family of the victim or any individuals in the vicinity of the crime. The details that go into a robbery case are unique to the situation so speak with a Sacramento criminal lawyer for legal advice.
There are two degrees of robbery with different penalties.
First degree robbery is more severe. In order to be first degree robbery, it must meet one of the following criteria:
- It occurs on public transportation or in a taxi to another passenger or the driver.
- It takes place in an inhabited structure
- It occurs at or in the vicinity of an ATM after the victim has recently used the ATM
First degree robbery may result in a state prison sentence of up to nine years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Second degree robbery may result in a state prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Severity of the crime within the categorical degree is reliant on the number of individuals involved- both in committing the robbery and being present at the robbery. The amount of property does not affect the number of crimes a person is considered to have committed. If an individual uses force or fear on multiple people but only takes one item, that individual can be charged for as many counts of robbery as people that may be considered victims.Additional charges may be filed under certain circumstances such as the use of a gun or causing an individual great bodily harm.
Robbery is considered a “violent crime” and thus counts as a strike in California’s three-strike policy. If an individual is convicted of three violent crimes, they may be given a sentence of 25 years to life. The severity of robbery charges are extreme so don’t hesitate to speak with a Sacramento criminal lawyer.
The most common legal defenses for robbery are:
- The lack of force or fear – for example a pickpocket is not guilty of a robbery because there is no use of force or fear.
- The belief of a right to the property – explicit consent to the use or removal of the property or an unspoken understanding is sufficient
- The immediate return of the property – even if the defendant used force or fear but immediately returned the owner, they are not guilty of a robbery
- Mistaken identity
- False accusation
If you have been accused of robbery, the best way to defend yourself is to talk to a knowledgeable and motivated Sacramento criminal lawyer.
Call Us To Speak To A Sacramento Criminal Lawyer About Your Robbery Charge
We have the experience and dedication to defend your rights from the beginning of your case through the final appeal. Give us a call at (916) 441-3500 for a consultation with a Sacramento criminal lawyer.