Robbery is defined by California Penal Code section 211 as the taking of the personal property of another from his person or immediate presence, against that person’s will through the use of force or threat of force with the intent to permanently deprive the person of the property. Robbery is a very serious offense that when charged in the second degree is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison. Where the robbery took place at an ATM, or in a commercial vehicle, it is in the first degree and punishable by up to 6 years in state prison, but where it occurs in an inhabited home and in concert with at least two other persons, it can be punished by up to 9 years. Because robbery is considered a crime against the person, one can be charged and sentenced for multiple counts where there are multiple victims. Robbery is not eligible for Penal Code section 1170(h) sentencing, so where convicted of robbery, a defendant can be expected to serve his sentence in state prison rather than in county jail.

Furthermore, robbery is considered both a serious and a violent felony under the three strikes laws which means that where the robbery conviction is a third or even a second strike, the sentence is dramatically increased and the ability of the defendant to earn custody credits and be paroled is severely restricted or eliminated. Where a first or second striker defendant is charged in the same proceeding for multiple felonies (even where those felonies are not strikes themselves) committed on separate occasions and arising from separate facts, then the sentence(s) for those felonies must be served consecutively.

Robbery is a specific intent crime, meaning that the prosecution must prove that a defendant “intended” to permanently deprive the victim of his or her property. Proving the contents of one’s mind is a notoriously difficult task because unless the defendant admits to it, this element may only be proven by circumstantial evidence. When a jury considers circumstantial evidence tending towards guilt, reasonable doubt and the California jury instruction on point requires a jury to acquit a defendant where there is also circumstantial evidence tending towards innocence. An experienced criminal defense attorney must be an expert in arguing this point.

Fortunately for the accused, in a strike case, a skilled defense attorney may be able to move the court to dismiss a strike pursuant to Penal Code section 1385 through a Romero motion. Because of the draconian severity of strike cases, it is important to consult a criminal defense attorney if you were arrested and are being charged with robbery.

The information contained on this website represents opinion only and is not intended to, nor should be relied on as legal advice of any kind. Should you wish to consult with an attorney, contact an attorney at the Law Office of Jesse Terrell at (323) 638-4712.
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