Robbery exists in the popular imagination as a crime committed in the dark of night. Maybe it’s a stick-up at gunpoint in a darkened alley, or perhaps someone threatens another person as part of an effort to steal the money they’ve just withdrawn from their bank’s ATM.
These are certainly clear examples of robbery charges, but it’s not always so cut and dried. In some cases, robbery can take place following a simple dispute. For instance, if you confront someone and threaten force to reclaim an item that you believe belongs to you, the other party may press a robbery charge if they have proof to support their ownership of the property.
Robbery is a very serious charge in California. The felony charge can carry with it numerous consequences that can extend far beyond a jail sentence. Fortunately, an experienced, knowledgeable San Diego robbery and burglary lawyer can help you (or a close friend or family member) understand the complexities of the charge, review the facts, and offer trustworthy guidance.
What Is Robbery
Robbery is defined as using force or threats to take someone’s property from their person.
There are two degrees of robbery:
- First-degree robbery takes place in a home, building, or against someone using an ATM (or just after someone uses an ATM but remains nearby). This can include using force or threats to take property from someone operating a bus, taxicab, streetcar, or other for-hire vehicles.
- All other forms of robbery are considered second-degree robberies.
What Are Some Examples of Robbery?
Robbery may occur when someone:
- Walks up to someone withdrawing money from an ATM and takes their money at gunpoint
- Threatens and steals money from a bus driver
- Brandishes a firearm and demands cash from a grocery store cash register
How Does a Prosecutor Prove Robbery?
A prosecutor, in attempting to prove a robbery charge, must assert all of the following:
- The accused took property that did not belong to them.
- The property was taken against someone’s will and from their possession.
- The accused used force or fear in taking the property.
- The accused intended to keep the property permanently or an extended period of time.
What Are Some Common Defenses Against Robbery Charges?
There are several defenses against a robbery charge. They include:
- Claim of right: You are not committing robbery if you believe a piece of property belongs to you and attempt to reclaim it without using excessive force.
- Force: You didn’t use fear, force, or threats to take the property in question.
- Mistaken identity: Given that many robberies happen at night or in a darkened home, someone may be wrongfully accused of robbery.
How Is Robbery Punished?
Those convicted of first-degree robbery can be punished with up to nine years in state prison. The first-degree robbery also falls under California’s Three Strikes Law, and conviction may count toward someone’s three strikes. Those convicted of second-degree robbery can be punished with up to five years in state prison.
What Should You Do If You Face A Robbery Charge?
As a felony, a robbery charge can carry with it life-altering consequences. If you (or a family member or friend) are charged with robbery, it is vital to contact an experienced California attorney who can attempt to reduce or even dismiss your charges.
A good attorney can help make sense of the charges, find out all the facts, and help you avoid the maximum penalties you might otherwise face. If you are facing robbery charges, call California robbery attorney Jessica McElfresh today at (858) 756-7107 for a free consultation on your case. Find out how she may be able to help. Ultimately, every case is unique, and an experienced California attorney can review the facts of your case, explain your options for a defense, and tell you what to expect from the legal process.