Are you facing criminal charges for robbery in Los Angeles? Contact The Rodriguez Law Group today for immediate legal assistance. Ambrosio E. Rodriguez is a former prosecutor who has, in recent years, become an established and successful criminal defense lawyer. He draws from his experience and time as a prosecutor to provide his clients with unparalleled legal services. Mr. Ambrosio knows how the state will approach your criminal robbery case and will use this insight to formulate a winning defense strategy. Call his Los Angeles office today for to schedule your free consultation.
What is Robbery?
Robbery is classified as a theft crime in California. It differs from other crimes of theft because it involves fear, intimidation, and the presence of a victim. You can face charges for robbery, as defined in California Penal Code 211 PC, when you:
- Take the personal property of another person;
- From that person or his immediate presence;
- Against that person’s will;
- Using force or fear.
Robbery requires taking personal property that belongs to another person without permission. What does it mean to “take” property? For the purposes of robbery, you must:
- Gain unlawful possession of the property; and
- Move that property to a different location.
The distance you move the property is irrelevant – as long as you move the property in some way you will be considered to have “taken” that property.
Taking Property From Another Person
A robbery can be committed when you take personal property from another person or from their immediate presence. The fact that the victim does not have to have actual possession of their personal property is important. This means that you can be charged with the crime of robbery if you take a wallet directly from a victim or take a wallet from the table sitting in front of a victim.
How do you know if property is within a person’s immediate presence? In California, property will be considered to be within a person’s immediate presence if it is “sufficiently within her or her physical control that he or she could keep possession of it if not prevented by force or fear.” This basically means that any property that a victim could protect – if they were not threatened by force or fear – will be considered to be within their immediate presence.
There is no set distance for determining if property is considered to be within a person’s immediate presence. As long as the victim could have protected property, had it not been for force or fear, it will be considered to be within their immediate presence. This can extend a considerable distance. One court even found that property 80 feet from a victim should be considered “within their immediate presence.”
You cannot be convicted of a robbery if you had the property owner’s consent to take their property. However, consent cannot be forced or coerced. Consent must be given “freely and voluntarily” with full knowledge of the nature of the act. If another person hands you their wallet, but only does so because you are holding a weapon in a threatening manner, this action is not voluntary.
Using Force or Fear
The crime of robbery requires that you use force or fear to accomplish a theft. Force and fear are both subjective elements of the crime. This means that there is no single standard for determining when force or fear are present in a given case. Evidence, arguments, and testimony will be presented to persuade a finder of fact (judge or jury) that force or fear did (or did not) exist.
Examples of behavior that may be considered “force” for the purposes of robbery include:
- Pushing another person toward a cash register;
- Drugging another person to make them unconscious; and
- Striking another person to persuade them to give up their wallet.
Examples of behavior that may be considered “fear” for the purposes of robbery include:
- Displaying a weapon or firearm; or
- Threatening to harm a member of the victim’s family.
According to Penal Code 211 PC, the crime of robbery is a felony offense. The specific facts and circumstances of your alleged crime will determine whether you face First Degree Felony or Second Degree Felony charges.
Second Degree Felony Robbery
Most crimes of robbery – without aggravating factors – will be charged as a second degree felony offense. If you are convicted of second degree felony robbery in Los Angeles your criminal sentence could include:
- Two, three, or five years in a California state prison;
- $10,000 in fines;
- Restitution; and/or
- Formal probation.
First Degree Felony Robbery
Crimes of robbery that involve certain aggravating factors will be charged as a first degree felony offense. You will face first degree robbery charges if you commit a robbery and:
- The victim is a driver or passenger on public transportation;
- The act is committed in an inhabited building; or
- The victim recently withdrew money from an ATM.
First degree felony robbery carries a maximum criminal penalty of nine years in a California state prison, $10,000 in fines, restitution, and formal probation.
Defenses to Los Angeles Robbery Charges
You have the legal right to assert any argument that may explain, excuse, and/or justify your alleged criminal behavior. Successfully arguing these defenses will make it difficult for the prosecution to build a strong case against you. This can help to secure a reduction or dismissal of the charges in your case. Defenses that may be helpful in your robbery case include:
- No property was taken;
- No force or fear was used to take another person’s property;
- You mistakenly believed you had a right or permission to take the property;
- The property was not in the immediate presence of another person;
- You have been mistakenly identified or falsely accused;
- You were acting under force or duress.
Los Angeles Robbery Attorney
Have you been arrested for a Los Angeles robbery? Are you or someone you know facing criminal charges? Call Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Ambrosio E. Rodriguez today for immediate legal assistance. Mr. Rodriguez knows that a conviction has the potential to ruin your life and will fight to minimize the consequences of your arrest.
The prosecution will begin to build its case against you the moment you are arrested, so it is important for you to act quickly. Do not hesitate to call our Los Angeles robbery attorneys today to schedule your free consultation. We will review your case, explain your legal rights, and answer your questions.