Were You Charged with California Crime Robbery Under Penal Code 211?
Robbery is an extremely serious criminal charge. If you are convicted, you will receive a criminal record and will face devastating penalties that can alter the course of your life forever. If you or one of your loved ones has been charged with robbery in California, it is critical that you are represented by a knowledgeable, skilled, and accomplished defense lawyer with specific experience handling robbery cases in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
The Ventura defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC have over 22 years of experience representing men, women, and juveniles arrested for robbery in California. We are well-versed in the defenses that can be utilized in these cases, and are dedicated to providing our clients with compassionate support while aggressively protecting their rights and liberties. If you or a family member is facing robbery charges in Ventura County or Santa Barbara County, call our law offices immediately at (805) 643-5555 for a free and confidential legal consultation.
What is the Difference Between Robbery, Theft, and Burglary Charges?
Many people use the words “robbery,” “theft,” and “burglary” interchangeably, suggesting these terms are synonymous. In fact, they are distinct criminal offenses. Each has a different legal definition, and each has different penalties.
California’s robbery statute is Cal. Penal Code § 211. This short, plainly-worded statute supplies the following legal definition of robbery in California:
“Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his [or her] person or immediate presence, and against his [or her] will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”
In other words, robbery is a felony that involves unlawfully taking another person’s property from them, against their will, by using force or making the person fear for their life or personal safety, or the life and safety of another individual.
Each part of a crime’s legal definition is called an “element” of the offense. If the prosecutor cannot prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, every element of the offense of robbery, the defendant cannot be convicted of robbery.
For example, the use of force or fear is a key element of the offense, distinguishing robbery from theft (larceny). Unlike robbery, theft does not involve the use of force or fear. Theft and robbery are also distinct from burglary, which specifically involves entering a building “with intent to commit grand or petit larceny.”
Robbery is prosecuted under Cal. Penal Code § 211, whereas burglary is prosecuted under Cal. Penal Code § 459. In California, there are numerous theft statutes. For example, Cal. Penal Code § 487, Cal. Penal Code § 487a(a), Cal. Penal Code § 487a(b), and Cal. Penal Code § 487b all deal with various forms of grand theft. It is critical that you are represented by an attorney who understands the nuances of each charge, and how to effectively fight each accusation in court.
California Robbery Penalties: Prison Sentencing and Three Strikes
There are three types of criminal offenses under California law: minor offenses known as misdemeanors, major crimes called felonies, and offenses which can fall into either category, known as “wobblers.”
Misdemeanors can have severe penalties in their own right, but the consequences of a felony are even more devastating. While misdemeanor jail sentences are limited to one year – which is already a long period to be incarcerated – the prison sentences for felonies can be much longer.
Robbery is a felony, and has harsh penalties accordingly. However, these penalties can vary depending on the whether the offense is first degree robbery or second degree robbery. Though generally charged as second degree robbery, the offense becomes robbery in the first degree if the defendant:
- Robs a person who is using, or has just used, an ATM. (Cal. Penal Code § 212.5(b))
- Robs “any person who is performing his or her duties as an operator of any bus, taxicab, cable car, streetcar, trackless trolley, or other vehicle.” (Cal. Penal Code § 212.5(a))
Depending on the circumstances of the offense, the California prison sentence for first degree robbery may be:
- 3 years
- 4 years
- 6 years
- 9 years
The sentence for second degree robbery, which also depends on case-specific circumstances, may be:
- 2 years
- 3 years
- 5 years
Critically, because robbery is classified as a violent felony, it will count as a “strike” under California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing law. A person who accumulates three strikes can be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Ventura Robbery Defense Lawyers Serving Oxnard and Santa Barbara County
Our Ventura criminal law firm handles felony cases throughout Ventura County and Santa Barbara County, including but not limited to Oxnard, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Port Hueneme, Camarillo, Casa Conejo, Santa Paula, Moorpark, Fillmore, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Goleta, Carpinteria, Guadalupe, and Solvang.
Bringing decades of combined experience to every criminal matter we handle, our defense attorneys have earned a reputation for providing aggressive, cutting-edge representation in challenging, high-stakes felony cases. We are fearless, resourceful, and absolutely committed to our clients. Call The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC immediately at (805) 643-5555 to set up a free and confidential legal consultation.