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How Robbery Charges Are Categorized

By San Diego Attorney on November 30, 2020

Theft laws in California are extremely complex, often applying in only specific scenarios and situations. With regards to robbery, it is the act of taking another person’s property through force or violence while he or she is in the immediate vicinity. This law is specifically designed to contrast with burglary, shoplifting, and other common theft crimes. But even robbery has its own unique categories that can heavily influence the penalties you face.

California Laws on Robbery

Under California Penal Code 211 PC, to be charged with robbery, a district attorney must prove that you:

  • Used forced, violence, or threats of violence to;
  • Take another person’s property;
  • From his or her immediate possession;
  • With the purpose of permanently depriving the owner of it.

Simply put, robbery is the act of stealing property directly from the owner, such as in a mugging or convenience store robbery. This crime can be elevated to armed robbery if you used a weapon during the crime, which may extend your sentence, and you may face further charges if someone was injured during the crime.

In turn, robbery can also be divided into two degrees in a San Diego court.

First- vs. Second-Degree Robbery

Similar to murder and manslaughter, robbery can be charged based on the severity of the crime. This is referred to as first- and second-degree robbery, with first-degree robbery being the more serious crime. Both are considered a felony, meaning you can face steep fines, imprisonment in a California state prison, formal probation, and the loss of your firearm rights.

With regards to their legal definitions, first- and second-degree robbery are divided based on when and where the crime took place. You face charges of first-degree robbery if you attempted to rob someone who:

  • Was a driver or passenger in a fare-based vehicle, such as a taxi, a rideshare vehicle like Uber or Lyft, a pedicab, or a limousine.
  • Was inside an apartment, house, boat, trailer coach, store, or business.
  • Was at or recently visited a nearby ATM.

First-degree robbery includes mugging someone outside a bank ATM (or forcing them to withdraw money from an ATM), robbing a pedicab passenger, or robbing the clerk at a liquor store. In turn, second-degree robbery is charged for all other scenarios, such as a mugging in an alleyway.

It should be noted that first-degree robbery does not include crimes such as carjacking. This is because carjacking can be committed against a passenger or temporary driver as well as the car’s owner and can involve the act of temporarily depriving the owner of the car, while robbery is permanent.

Penalties for Robbery

Based on these differing legal definitions, the prosecution can pursue felony charges. With first-degree robbery, the penalties include:

  • Up to three, four, or six years in a California state prison
  • $10,000
  • Formal probation

If the crime took place at a concert and involved two or more individuals, the sentence can be enhanced to three, six, or nine years. Second-degree robbery can lead to the same penalties as first-degree without this enhancement.

But a felony charge can follow you long after you are released from prison. This includes losing the right to own or purchase a firearm, being barred from applying for certain government jobs, and blocked access to certain housing. Whether you are facing first- or second-degree robbery charges, you need strong legal assistance today.

Fighting a Robbery Charge

Defending against a robbery charge can be difficult if you do not work with the right attorney. The prosecution takes a strong stance against theft crimes in San Diego County and will want to pursue a strong sentence, especially if someone was injured during the alleged crime. However, if you work with the legal team at jD LAW, you can trust that your case is in the best hands. Our founding attorney has more than 30 years of legal experience and is a former LAPD investigator. Having seen both sides of numerous criminal cases, he can build a strong defense on your behalf. To get in contact with a San Diego theft crime attorney today, contact jD LAW at (760) 630-2000 and schedule a free consultation.

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