Robbery Defenses in Riverside and Los Angeles

Riverside Robbery Attorney

If you’ve been accused by California law enforcement of robbery, you’re automatically facing felony charges, which can result in serious penalties, including extended time in the state prison.

Additionally, charges of robbery are “strike” eligible offenses under California’s Three Strikes Law, which could double the amount of prison time to be served or, depending upon your circumstances, result in you being sentenced to 25 years to life behind bars.

Here, we’ll talk about:

  • what California law says about robbery, and the associated degrees of the charge;
  • the possible penalties associated with robbery charges;
  • why it’s absolutely essential to have a defense lawyer with a proven record of success in the courtroom in defending robbery charges on your side to have your charges dismissed altogether or the penalties significantly reduced;
  • the ins-and-outs of California’s Three Strikes sentencing law; and
  • examples of successful defense strategies in cases involving vandalism charges.

How is robbery defined in California?
Simply stated, California law defines robbery as “…the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”

In other words, if you’re charged with robbery, it will be up to the prosecutor to prove that:

  • you used force to take property that wasn’t your own while the alleged victim was present;
  • the taking of the property was against the alleged victim’s will; and
  • you intended to keep the property permanently or long enough so that the alleged victim was denied ownership of the property for a significant amount of time.

What are the degrees of robbery charges?

There are two (2) degrees of robbery charges in California.

  • First Degree Robbery charges are likely when the alleged offense occurs in someone’s home, automobile (including taxi, subway, cable car, bus, etc.), or in the vicinity of an ATM (automated teller machine).
  • Second Degree Robbery covers alleged offenses that occur practically anywhere else, such as a mugging.

What are the possible penalties for robbery in California?
Robbery charges are definitely not wobbler cases that can either be misdemeanors or felonies. Here in California, a robbery charge is always treated as a felony.

Potential penalties for First Degree Robbery include:

  • prison time of three (3), four (4) or six (6) years;
  • fines up to $10,000; and
  • informal probation (without supervision) or formal probation (supervision by a probation officer.

The penalties you could be facing for Second Degree Robbery include:

  • prison time of two (2) years, three (3) or five (5) years in state prison;
  • fines up to $10,000; and
  • informal probation (without supervision) or formal probation (supervision by a probation officer).

For the duration of the probationary period, you could be required to:

  • pay restitution to the alleged victim;
  • meet regularly with your probation officer; and
  • not violate any other law during this time (excluding traffic infractions).

What Could Make The Penalties Stiffer

It’s important to note that the above are merely the “bare-bones” penalties. Issues that could make the penalties even more stiff include:

  • use of a gun or other weapon can add ten (10) years to your prison sentence;
  • firing of a gun can net another twenty (20) years of prison time; and
  • someone being killed or gravely hurt during the alleged incident could bring another 25 years to life in prison.

Attorney Stephen Sweigart
How does California’s Three Strikes Sentencing Law work?
It’s important to discuss this because robbery (first and second degree) are “strikeable” offenses.

Simply put, the Three Strikes Law means that if you’ve been convicted of a serious violent felony (for which robbery certainly qualifies), and have two or more prior convictions with at least one being a serious violent felony in its own right, your sentencing to state prison could be twice what is recommended for the crime.

What are examples of successful defenses to robbery charges in California?

Because all charges of robbery are felonies in California with significant prison time at stake and are “strike eligible” crimes, the skilled expertise of a defense lawyer is a necessity to have your charges dropped altogether or, at the very minimum, have your penalties significantly reduced.

Here are a few examples of defense strategies for cases involving charges of robbery:

  • you had reason to believe that the property was yours (this is referred to as a “claim of right” defense);
  • not all of the elements of robbery can be proven (as stated above, there are a host of components that must be proven in order to trigger the charges of robbery, including intent, force and plan to permanently keep the property for a specified amount of time; if neither of these can be proven by the prosecutor, the chances are good that charges of robbery cannot be made);
  • you weren’t there (this defense can be especially effective if the alleged perpetrator was wearing a mask or some other form of disguise);
  • you’re being falsely accused by someone who has a grudge against you;
  • there was no force or fear of force used in the alleged acquisition of the property (remember, the word “force” is a key component of the legal definition for robbery, so if force cannot be proven, charges of robbery cannot be made);
  • you were forced by someone else to commit the alleged offense (this is known as being “under duress,” and involves being able to prove that you were threatened by someone else with bodily harm or death to commit the alleged robbery);
  • you were heavily intoxicated during the commission of the alleged robbery (while this will probably not completely excuse your alleged behavior, it may position you to plead to lesser charges); and
  • you’re a victim of entrapment (in this defense, the alleged victim actually instigated the entire affair to entrap you into committing a robbery).

If you’ve facing charges for robbery in Riverside or the Los Angeles area, call Sharp Criminal Lawyers.

As a three strikes eligible charge, Robbery is a serious matter which requires an experienced aggressive attorney to defend.

At Sharp Criminal Lawyers, our attorneys have the expertise and experience to develop a defense strategy designed to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Stephen has obtained countless not guilty verdicts in every court in Riverside County and has developed a reputation as a fierce trial attorney which can make a difference in your case.

Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free legal info by phone at 951-777-1111.

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