CA Penal Code 211

Robbery

Robbery, CA Penal Code 211[1], is defined by California as taking another person’s property from their body or immediate possession with the use of force or fear. Robbery is a more serious crime than Burglary, CA Penal Code 459, because robbery involves the use of force or fear while burglary does not. It’s important to note that the value of what was robbed from the person is not important, just as long as you took it from a person with the use of force or fear.

In order to be convicted of robbery, the prosecutor must prove the five elements of the case:

  1. You took someone else’s property
  2. The property was taken from the person or their immediate presence
  3. You took the property against their will
  4. While taking their property you used force, fear, or threats
  5. You intended to take their property permanently or for a duration of time sufficient enough to deprive them of the major value or enjoyment of that property

If the prosecution cannot prove these five elements of the crime then you will not be convicted of robbery.

The sentencing for robbery charges can be complex. There are two different types of robberies, first degree robbery and second degree robbery. The more serious of the two types of robberies is first degree robbery and it pertains to:

  • Robbing either the driver, or passenger(s) of a commercial vehicle
  • An inhabited home
  • Robbing people who are using, or who have just finished using the ATM

If convicted of first degree robbery you will face up to nine years in California state prison.

Second degree robbery pertains to any robbery that does not follow under the circumstances of first degree robbery. If convicted of second degree robbery you will face up to five years in California state prison.

There are a lot of ways to enhance your robbery sentencing. For instance, if you perform a robbery on more than one person then you will be charged with multiple counts of robbery.

If while performing the robbery you inflicted great bodily injury upon the victim you will face an additional three to six-year prison sentence in succession with your robbery sentence.

If you committed the murder as a part of gang activity then you will serve an additional ten-year sentence in succession with your robbery sentence.

If you use a gun while robbing someone you face an additional ten-year sentence, if you fired the gun you face an additional 20-year sentence and if you inflicted great bodily injury upon someone with a gun, or killed that person, you face 25 years-to-life in state prison in succession to your robbery sentence.

Prosecuting Robbery – CA Penal Code 211

As previously mentioned, in order to be convicted of robbery, the prosecutor must prove the five elements of the crime:

  • You took someone else’s property
  • The property was taken from the person or their immediate presence
  • You took the property against their will
  • While taking their property you used force, fear, or threats
  • You intended to take their property permanently or for a duration of time sufficient enough to deprive them of the major value or enjoyment of that property

The first element of the crime is that you took someone else’s property. California defines taking as gaining someone’s possession and carrying it away. Meaning there has to be some movement involved for it to be considered that you took someone’s property.

It’s important to not that robbing somebody does not mean that you robbed their property, just their possession. In other words, all the prosecutor has to do is prove that you took something from another person, regardless if that person owned the object being taken or not. This closes the loophole of someone being found innocent for taking something that wasn’t the victim’s property.

Immediate presence is defined as something that, “is so within his reach, inspection, observation, or control that he could, if not overcome by violence or prevented by fear, retain his possession of it.” In other words, the object being stolen does not have to be attached to the person in order for you to be convicted of robbery, it just has to be under their control.

That law states that, “the element of fear is satisfied when there is sufficient fear to cause the victim to comply with the unlawful demand of his/her property.” This means that the prosecutor has to prove that you used enough force, or fear, to have the victim agree to give you his/her things.

If the prosecutor cannot prove these five elements of the crime then you should not be convicted of the crime.

Defending Robbery – CA Penal Code 211

There a few typical defense strategies that a skilled criminal defense attorney can utilize to prove your innocence. Your criminal defense attorney will first investigate if you intended to take the property. If you accidentally came into possession, or didn’t intend to keep, someone else’s property then you are not guilty of the crime. If for instance, you used force to take someone’s phone and put it in your pocket and then subsequently walked away and forgot it was there, then you’re not guilty of robbery.

Next your attorney will read the police report and contact any eye witnesses to investigate if you used force or fear while taking the victims things. If you did not use force or fear then you will not be convicted of robbery because that is one of the elements of the crime; however, if you took somebody else’s property you will be charged with a lesser crime.

A viable defense is “claim of right” meaning if you reasonably and honestly believe that somebody has your property and you try to take it from that person then you are not guilty of robbery. However, you have to honestly believe that the property is yours and you must not use excessive force to try and retrieve it.

The next approach your criminal defense attorney will take is to make sure that you are not the victim of mistaken identity. Robberies typically occur at night with a person wearing dark clothes and a mask, so it can be difficult for a victim, or eye witness to thoroughly see the perpetrator. Your attorney will prove your innocence through the use of alibis who can testify that you were not at the location of the crime when it occurred. Your attorney can also look at text messages and phone records when the crime supposedly occurred.

If you, or a loved one, are being charged with robbery it’s imperative to talk to a criminal defense attorney immediately. Seppi Esfandi is a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, meaning he is efficient and knowledgeable in defending criminal matters of all sorts. He has ample experience in robbery cases and will work hard to have your case dropped or your charges reduced. Call 310-274-6529 for a FREE CASE EVALUATION.

 

References

[1] Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.

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