Robbery is always a felony offense in California, and if you unlawfully take property from another person directly or in his or her immediate presence in Los Angeles, you could be charged with robbery or the more serious crime of armed robbery, if you used a firearm to commit the crime. Robbery crimes are punished harshly under California law, and the penalties resulting from a robbery conviction may include a lengthy prison sentence, considerable fines, restitution to the victim, and parole or probation, in addition to potential collateral consequences, such as a loss of the right to vote or buy or possess a firearm. Our robbery defense attorneys at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles are committed to defending clients charged with robbery crimes, and we will protect your rights to the fullest extent, from the moment you are arrested to the conclusion of your case. If you or a loved one is facing robbery charges in Los Angeles, don’t hesitate to secure knowledgeable legal counsel. Call (213) 205-3100 today to discuss your case with our experienced legal team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles.
Affordable Robbery Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
If you are facing California robbery charges, your future and your freedom are at stake and it has never been more important to enlist the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with experience defending clients against robbery crimes in Los Angeles. With our attorneys on your side, you may be able to avoid a criminal conviction altogether, or have your charges reduced to a lesser offense with fewer penalties. For instance, we may be able to prove that the alleged victim of the robbery misidentified you, or that the evidence obtained by law enforcement was the result of an illegal search and seizure. A good Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will have a comprehensive understanding of California law and the defense strategies that are most successful in Los Angeles robbery cases. Contact our experienced defense lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today for a free initial robbery defense consultation. It is the top priority of our criminal defense attorneys to ensure that you understand the charges against you and know your rights under California law, and we will do everything in our power to help you reach a favorable conclusion to your case.
California law defines the crime of robbery as unlawfully taking the personal property of another person, against the other person’s will, through the use of force or fear. In order for a robbery offense to be charged, the property must be taken directly from the person or in his or her immediate presence, and moved some distance, even a very short distance. The value of the property does not matter when it comes to charging a person with robbery, and the force used in such a crime can be a simple threat or a more serious use of physical force. There are two main types of robbery:
- First-degree robbery – Robbery that occurs in a person’s home, during a carjacking or at an ATM machine
- Second-degree robbery – Any robbery offense that does not rise to the level of a first-degree robbery charge
Some examples of robbery in Los Angeles include breaking into someone’s home and threatening the occupants with physical harm before stealing their television, cash and jewelry, or, after being caught in the act of committing petty theft or grand theft, threatening the owner of the property with physical harm in order to get away.
Conviction for Robbery Penal Code § 211
The prosecutor assigned to your California robbery case must meet the requisite burden of proof, which means establishing each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to get a robbery conviction, the prosecutor must prove that:
- You took property that was not your own;
- The property was taken from another person’s possession and immediate presence;
- The property was taken against the other person’s will;
- You used force or fear to take the property or prevent the person from resisting; and
- When you used force or fear to take the property, you intended to permanently deprive the person of the property, or remove it from the person’s possession for an extended period of time.
As you can see, the prosecution faces significant hurdles in proving a Los Angeles robbery offense, and this heavy burden of proof leaves the door open for an aggressive criminal defense attorney to poke holes in the case and cast doubt on your guilt, which can help you avoid a criminal conviction.
How is Robbery Different from Theft and Burglary?
Although it may seem like the terms robbery, theft and burglary all describe the same criminal act of taking property from another person without that person’s permission, these three offenses are distinct under California law and are charged separately. These crimes are closely related, however, and it is possible for a defendant facing robbery charges to also be charged with burglary if, for example, he is accused of breaking in a person’s home, threatening the occupants and then stealing their belongings. The main difference between robbery and these other theft crimes is that robbery only occurs if the property is taken directly from the person or in his or her immediate presence. For instance, if a person confronts the owner of a convenience store outside of his home and threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t reveal the code to the alarm at the store, and when he does, calls another person who is at the store and uses the code to go inside and steal cash, that person did not take property from the store owner’s immediate presence, so he or she cannot be guilty of robbery. Rather, the person would likely be charged with petty theft or grand theft under California Penal Code § 484, 488 or 487 PC. California robbery is also distinguished from other theft crimes by the requisite use of force or fear.
Penalties for a Robbery Conviction
All robberies in Los Angeles are charged as felony offenses under Penal Code § 211 PC, but the penalties associated with these crimes can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, a defendant convicted of first-degree robbery within an inhabited dwelling, in concert with two or more other people, could face a state prison sentence of three, six or nine years, while a defendant convicted of any other first-degree robbery offense could face a state prison sentence of three, four or six years. Second-degree robbery is considered a slightly less serious offense in California, punishable by a state prison sentence of two, three or five years.
If you are convicted of committing a robbery in Los Angeles while armed with a gun (armed robbery), you could face enhanced penalties under California’s “10-20-life use a gun and you’re done” law, including an additional prison sentence of 10 to 25 years for the crime of using a weapon to commit a crime, which gets added onto any prison time you may be required to serve for a first- or second-degree robbery conviction. In addition to jail time and substantial fines, Los Angeles robbery offenses are also accompanied by felony probation and other potential consequences, such as restitution to the victim and a loss of gun rights and voting rights. Other offenses related to California Penal Code § 211 PC robbery include Penal Code § 215 PC carjacking, Penal Code § 487 and 488 PC grand theft and petty theft, Penal Code § 518 PC extortion, and Penal Code § 459 PC burglary.
Defenses to Robbery Charges
Any person accused of a criminal offense like robbery in California has the right to assert any argument in court to defend his or her innocence, and there are a variety of legal defenses to robbery charges that a criminal defense attorney can use to help you fight charges under California Penal Code § 211 PC. If you have been arrested for or charged with robbery in Los Angeles, we can raise the following defenses on your behalf to explain, excuse or justify your alleged behavior, including the following:
- You are the victim of mistaken identity
- You did not use force or fear to take the property
- You believed you had a right to the property
- You were falsely accused
- You did not use sufficient force for it to constitute a robbery
- The prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to convict you of the crime
- You were the victim of an illegal search and seizure
Hiring a Skilled Robbery Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
California Penal Code § 211 PC is considered a violent felony and a conviction for felony robbery in Los Angeles – a “strike” offense – can be used to enhance sentencing for future convictions under California’s “Three Strikes” law, which imposes longer prison sentences on certain repeat offenders convicted of serious or violent felonies in Los Angeles. For example, if you have a robbery conviction on your record and you are charged with any other felony offense, you could face twice the normal sentence for the subsequent felony conviction. Furthermore, if you accumulate three “strike” convictions, you could be sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. If you have been arrested for or charged with felony robbery in Los Angeles, contact our knowledgeable robbery defense lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles for a free consultation. Our attorneys have extensive experience protecting the rights of clients charged with violent robbery crimes, and we will aggressively defend you against these criminal charges.