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    BlogWhat are the Penalties for Robbery in California?

    Robbery is an extremely serious criminal charge in the State of California. A guilty plea or conviction can land you in jail for a significant period of time and can subject you to a whole host of other penalties. If you are currently facing robbery charges in California, time is of the essence, and you should retain an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can.

    At The Law Offices of David S. Chesley, our criminal defense attorneys will work tirelessly to help you obtain the best possible result in your criminal case. In some instances, this may mean an outright dismissal of your robbery charge. In other instances, it may mean a favorable plea deal with the prosecuting attorney or a charge reduction that would allow for a decreased criminal penalty.

    If the State of California has charged you with robbery, you should contact The Law Offices of David S. Chesley today at 1-800-755-5174, or contact us online to find out more about how we can help you defend your case.

    Proving Robbery Charges

    In order for a court to impose a criminal penalty for robbery, the prosecution must be able to demonstrate that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This does not mean, however, that the prosecution must prove its case 100 percent. Instead, it means that the prosecution must prove all of the elements of the robbery crime beyond a doubt which is based upon ordinary common sense and ordinary reason. Under California Penal Code 211, the prosecution must be able to prove the following legal elements – beyond a reasonable doubt – in order to obtain a conviction:

    • That the property which was taken did not belong to the defendant
    • That the property taken was in the physical possession of someone other than the defendant
    • That the property was taken from the victim while the victim was still present
    • That the property was taken from the victim against his or her will
    • That the defendant used force or threat of force to obtain the property from the victim
    • That the defendant had the specific intent to permanently deprive the true owner of his or her property (or deprive him or her of the property for a significant period of time)

    If the prosecution is unable to prove one or more of these legal elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then the state cannot obtain a conviction for robbery.

    Potential Penalties upon Conviction

    The penalties upon sustaining a conviction for robbery depend upon a number of different factors. One of the most important factors is whether the robbery was committed in the first degree or the second degree. A first-degree robbery occurs when the alleged victim is a passenger or driver of a taxicab, bus, cable car, trackless trolley, subway, or streetcar; the robbery occur after (or while) the alleged victim uses an automatic teller machine (ATM); or the robbery occurs in an inhabited trailer, house, or boat.

    A conviction for first-degree robbery in the State of California is a felony conviction. Consequently, the conviction can result in a period of formal probation; a period of incarceration lasting three, four, or six years in a state penitentiary; and/or a maximum monetary fine in the amount of $10,000. In the event the accused committed the crime of first-degree robbery in a structure that was inhabited – and committed the crime with two or more other individuals – then the potential prison sentence upon conviction will be for three, six, or nine years.

    The ultimate decision about the penalty to be imposed upon conviction rests with the sentencing judge who is assigned the case.

    Second-degree robbery is a less serious offense than first-degree robbery, and the potential penalties imposed upon conviction are less than for first-degree robbery. Pursuant to the California Penal Code, a second-degree robbery is any robbery which occurs in the state and which does not fit within the legal definition of first-degree robbery. A conviction for second- degree robbery can result in any of the following penalties:

    • A period of felony probation
    • A period of incarceration in state prison lasting for two, three, or five years
    • A maximum monetary fine of $10,000 which the defendant must pay

    Again, the sentencing judge ultimately determines the penalty upon conviction.

    Robbery Penalty Enhancements

    Along with the potential penalties listed above, a robbery conviction can result in various sentence enhancements. One such sentence enhancement is for “great bodily injury.” In other words, if you cause the alleged victim to experience great bodily injury during the commission of a robbery, a judge could tack an additional three to six years onto your criminal sentence. Moreover, if you used a gun to commit the robbery offense, you can receive any one of the following penalties:

    • An additional ten years’ incarceration for using a firearm during the commission of the robbery
    • An additional 20 years’ incarceration if you intentionally fire a gun during the commission of a robbery
    • An additional 25 years’ incarceration for causing the alleged victim to suffer death or grievous bodily injury using a firearm during the commission of the robbery

    The “Three Strikes Law” in California

    California employs a “three strikes law” when it comes to robbery charges. This is because, under the California Penal Code, robbery is deemed a violent felony. Consequently, if you already have a robbery conviction on your criminal record and you later sustain a charge for any felony in the State of California, you will be subject to two times the standard criminal sentence imposed for committing that felony.

    Moreover, if you incur a total of three of these “strike” convictions, one of which may be a robbery conviction under the California Penal Code, a court can impose a sentence of 25 years’ incarceration to life in prison.

    Potential Defenses to a Robbery Charge

    In some cases, you may be able to raise a valid legal defense to your robbery charge. When that happens, the prosecutor may not process or dismiss your criminal charge, along with your entire criminal case. If that happens, you will not face any criminal penalties for your charge. Potential defenses to the crime of robbery in California include the following:

    • The defendant did not use force or threat of force to commit the crime.
    • The defendant harbored an honest belief that he or she was entitled to the property in question.
    • The defendant was mistakenly identified, and it was someone else who actually committed the crime.
    • The defendant was falsely accused by someone of committing the crime.

    Call Us Today to Speak with a California Criminal Defense Attorney

    Robbery charges should never be taken lightly. If you are currently faced with a robbery charge in the State of California, you should contact The Law Offices of David S. Chesley as soon as possible. Our knowledgeable legal team will work hard to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your criminal case.

    To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer in California, please call us today at 1-800-755-5174 or contact us online.