Posted on April 15, 2016
Robbery Defenses & Punishment │ California Penal Code 211 PC
In California, “Robbery” is charged under Penal Code 211 and it’s an inherently dangerous offense carrying severe penalties if convicted. It’s a strike offense applied to California’s Three Strike laws where a robbery conviction could be used as an enhancement in the event you’re convicted of any subsequent felony. Additionally, robbery is straight felony and cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor regardless of the facts or circumstances of your case. If you’re a robbery suspect, law enforcement will attempt to contact you. It’s in your best interest not to give any statement to police, demand for an attorney, and contact a Robbery Defense Lawyer at the investigations earliest juncture. The more you speak to police, the more you limit your options in defending the charges in court.
You may find the following article helpful as it will address 11 important things you should know about Robbery charges.
1. What is the Definition of Robbery?
Robbery is defined under PC 211 as, “…the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, for his or her person or immediate presence, and against his or her will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”
2. What does the Prosecutor Need to Prove for Robbery?
According to CALCRIM 1600, in order to prove you’re guilty of robbery under PC 211, the government holds the burden to prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. You took property that was not your own;
2. You took property from another person or their immediate presence;
3. You took the property against that person’s will;
4. You used force or fear to effectuate the taking of the property;
5. You intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently or for an extended period of time where the owner would be derived of a major portion of value or enjoyment of the property.
3. What are the Legal Defenses to Robbery?
• You formed the intent to take [the item] after using force or fear. Robbery requires that you form the intent prior to during the use of force or fear on the other person. Thus, if you formed the intent after, then you’re not guilty of robbery.
• You’re mistakenly identified as the suspect to who committed the robbery. There is a growing concern over the unreliability of eye-witness evidence. Key factors that play a role in the misidentification of a suspect include cross-racial identification, poor lighting, and much more.
• You did not take anything – in other words, you never gained possession of something and/or had control over it.
• The alleged victim was not placed in reasonable fear. Fear is not measured subjectively, but whether a reasonable person would be placed in fear.
• The alleged victim consented for you to take [the item(s)] by their own free will.
• You did not move the property. Robbery requires asportation however small of a distance. If you did not move the property, then you did not commit robbery.
• The force you used was incidental touching necessary to take the item.
• The property was not within the immediate presence of the alleged victim.
• You had an honest belief claim of right to the property even if your belief was mistaken or unreasonable.
• The alleged victim is fabricating or exaggerating the circumstances of the incident.
• You have an alibi supporting that you were not at the location of the robbery.
• The physical evidence against you was illegally obtained in violation of your Search & Seizure right under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
• Your incriminating statements were illegally obtained in violation of your Miranda rights.
4. What is the Punishment for Robbery?
The punishment for robbery will depend on the level of degree. Robbery is categorized into two degrees: first degree robbery and second degree robbery. In addition, if you used a firearm during the commission of the robbery, you can expect even greater consequences. The general sentencing range for robbery is a minimum or two years up to nine years in state prison unless the court deems you eligible for probation. Furthermore, upon conviction you will be labeled as a strike offender unless the government or the judge agrees to strike the enhancement.
5. Are there Robbery Sentencing Enhancements?
There are a number of enhancements the prosecutor can allege causing greater exposure if you’re convicted of robbery. As a result, if these enhancement are found to be true, then your underlying sentence will be served consecutively with the additional enhancement. Examples include:
• Prior Prison Sentence
• Prior Strike Offense
• Use of a Firearm
• Criminal Street Gang
6. What Evidence do the Police Have?
• Eye-witness Statements
• Video Surveillance Footage
• Your Cellular Phone GPS Mapping
• Your Incriminating Statements
• Finger Prints
7. Robbery Defense Investigation
Because your level of exposure, an extensive investigation must be conduct into the validity of the government’s case. This includes questioning all witnesses, running background checks, visiting the crime scene(s), photographing the scene(s), and perhaps searching for additional witnesses. The Law Offices of John Rogers has access to a number of defense investigators and experts for the purpose of providing you with an exceptional defense in an effort to dismissal the case or obtain an acquittal at trial.
8. Should I Speak with Police?
You should refrain from speaking with the police if you’re being investigated for robbery. In the event you do speak with a police officer or detective, you’re liable to give incriminating statements which will build a case against you in court. If the police are seeking to question you, chances are, they don’t have much evidence against you. Additionally, nothing you say will help you in any way. If the police are attempting to speak with you, decline to give a statement and contact an attorney right away.
9. Robbery Expungement
If you were convicted of robbery and the court granted you probation, then you may be eligible to expunge your robbery conviction pursuant to California PC 1203.4. To obtain this remedy, you must be fully completed with probation and you have no pending cases against you. If the court grants your expungement petition, you will be entitled to a number of benefits, especially in the private employment sector. However, an expungement will not dismiss your strike and it still can be used against you in the event you’re arrest for a subsequent felony.
10. What are Examples of Robbery?
• Grabbing someone’s cell phone from their hands, pushing them, and running away.
• Pushing someone off their bicycle and riding away.
• Showing someone a knife intending scare them to turn over property.
• Demanding money from someone while telling them that you will kill them if they don’t.
11. Free Criminal Defense Consultation
Contact a Robbery Defense Attorney at the Law Offices of John Rogers for a free consultation. Early retention of counsel is critical when faced with robbery PC 211 allegations.