Fighting Robbery Crime Charges in California: A Brief Overview of California’s Robbery Laws (PC 211)

Under California Penal Code Section 211, robbery is defined as the act of removing property from another’s possession against their will through means of fear or force. The use of force could involve the use of a deadly weapon, such as cases of armed robbery. The use of force could also involve the use of physical force.

Robbery is not the same as theft or burglary. Robbery will involve some form of confrontation in the form of using force or the threat of force with the intent to coerce a person and prevent opposition. Under California’s Penal Code Section 211, the act of robbery is a very serious felony offense, which is punishable by imprisonment in a California state prison.

When a defendant has used a weapon or has inflicted some form of bodily injury while committing the act will likely carry a harsher sentence than a simple robbery would. When being charged with a robbery in the state of California, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible.

The Effects of a Criminal Conviction

Being convicted for robbery can result in devastating consequences for the defendant. Besides serving a potentially long prison sentence, there are other long-term penalties. Some of the most profound consequences can involve the following:

  • The inability to get hired because of the criminal history,
  • The inability to obtain financial aid for school purposes,
  • The inability to rent an apartment or other living space because of the criminal record, and
  • A tarnished reputation amongst peers and close family members

Identifying the Difference Between First and Second-Degree Robbery

In the State of California, robbery is categorized into crimes of first and second degree. Under a first-degree robbery, highlighted under Penal Code Section 212.5 (a), these crimes occur under an inhabited infrastructure, trailer, or vessel. First-degree crimes can also involve the robbing of a bus operator, taxicab driver, or a streetcar. Finally, first-degree robbery can also involve while or soon after an alleged victim is using an ATM machine.

In California, second-degree robbery is classified as any robbery act that does not meet the definition of a first-degree offense. A second-degree robbery will usually involve the following punishments:

  • Felony probation;
  • 2, 3, or 5 years in a state penitentiary; and/or
  • A monetary fine of up to $10,000

Establishing a Legal Defense For a Robbery Charge

In order to be convicted of a robbery offense, there are multiple elements that will need to be established by the prosecution. The robbery will need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to defend against the charges, a skilled attorney will need to prove that:

  • The defendant did not use fear or force to take the property in question
  • The defendant had reason to believe he or she had a right to the property
  • The defendant is a victim of mistaken identity
  • The defendant has been incorrectly accused of having committed the crime

If a criminal defense attorney can establish reasonable doubt in the elements needed to convict a person, it could be difficult for a jury to convict a person. Likewise, it could also be possible to ensure a charge reduction even before the trial has commenced. If you or someone you know has been charged with robbery, consider seeking the support of a skilled criminal defense attorney.

The attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP are highly experienced in criminal defense cases involving robbery charges. They are dedicated to champion for the rights of those who have been accused of a crime in the State of California.