Robbery is a serious and potentially devastating accusation. As a violent felony, a robbery conviction will add a strike to your record under California”s notoriously strict three strikes law, which can result in serious jail time if there are prior or subsequent convictions.

Robbery is a more serious charge than grand theft as it involves the use of force or fear to take someone else”s property. As such, it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer to prevent jail time and permanent damage to your reputation or future employment prospects.

The Law Office of Peter Blair is prepared to listen to your side of the story and mount an aggressive defense on your behalf. The sooner you act, the better acting before formal charges are filed will give you the best chance to avoid maximum penalties or a conviction altogether. Call the Law Office of Peter Blair at (619) 357-4977 or fill out an online inquiry to schedule your free consultation today.

Legal Definitions

California Penal Code 211 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.

Fear can mean the fear of unlawful injury to the person or property of the person robbed, fear for the safety of relatives, or fear for someone else present at the time of the robbery.

The penalties and sentencing for robbery under California law depends on whether it was first-degree or second-degree robbery. First-degree robbery includes the robbery of:

  • Any driver or passenger of a bus, taxi, cable car, streetcar, trolley, or other vehicle
  • Any inhabited home
  • Any person using an ATM or in the immediate vicinity of an ATM

Any other type of robbery is classified as a second-degree robbery.

Robbery is considered a violent felony under California law, meaning it counts as one of three strikes. Conviction of three strikeable offenses will result in a prison sentence of 25 years to life.

Legal Defenses

The best way to determine your best course of defense is to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Possible defenses against robbery charges include:

  • Claim of right: Honest belief that the property belonged to you can be a legitimate defense for robbery. Your belief does not have to be accurate, but you must have a legitimate claim to the property for the charge to be excused.
  • No use of force or fear: Petty theft and grand theft carry much lighter sentences than robbery; the only thing differentiating theft and robbery is the use of force or fear. If you did not use force or take action to cause fear, your case should be handled as a less-serious theft charge.
  • Mistaken identity: Especially if a disguise or mask was involved, it is possible that a victim identified the wrong perpetrator. A qualified defense attorney will be able to identify whether or not the victim was certain about the identity of the robber.

Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

Robbery is a felony under California law. Penalties and punishment will depend on whether first- or second-degree robbery took place.

First-degree robbery is punishable by three, four, or six years in state prison. Second-degree robbery is punishable by two, three, or five years in state prison.

Aggravating Factors

Certain aggravating factors can subject you to additional punishment or extended sentences. Aggravating factors for robbery include:

Robbery causing great bodily injury can increase a potential prison sentence by three to six years. Great bodily injury includes serious, significant, or substantial injuries, and the increased punishment will depend on the severity of the injury and the circumstances of the incident.

Robbery involving three or more people working together to rob an inhabited dwelling is prohibited by Penal Code 213. This is punishable by three, six, or nine years in state prison.

Robbery using a firearm can add significant time to a prison sentence. Using a gun during a robbery can add 10 years to the sentence; intentionally firing a gun during a robbery can add 20 years; and causing great bodily injury or death with a gun during a robbery can lead to a sentence of 25 years to life.

Related Offenses


Carjacking
is defined by Penal Code 215 as stealing another person’s motor vehicle from their immediate presence (or from the immediate presence of a passenger) against their will and with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive him or her of it. This is punishable by three, five, or nine years in state prison.

Grand theft, as explained in Penal Code 487, includes the theft of more than $950 and the theft of a car or firearm. Grand theft and petty theft differ from robbery in that they don’t require the use of force or fear. Grand theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the incident and the opinion of the prosecutor. As a felony, grand theft is punishable by 16 months, two years, or three years in prison.

Petty theft is established by Penal Code 487 as feloniously stealing, taking, or carrying away someone else’s property worth less than $950. Petty theft is most commonly shoplifting or pickpocketing. Petty theft is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to six months in county jail.

Kidnapping is defined by Penal Code 207 as forcibly, or by any other means of instilling fear, steals or takes, or holds, detains, or arrests any person to move him or her a substantial distance. Kidnapping alone is punishable by three, five, or eight years in state prison. If you are charged with kidnapping for the purpose of robbery, you could face a life sentence in prison.

Burglary is defined by Penal Code 459 as entering any house, apartment, store, or other building with the intent to commit grand or petty larceny. Burglary is classified as a felony if it took place in a private residence, but it can be a misdemeanor or a felony if it took place in another structure. Felony burglary is punishable by two, four, or six years in prison. Burglary and robbery are closely related, and someone accused of robbery can be charged with burglary as well.

Consult an Experienced California Defense Lawyer

If you are facing robbery charges, the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is invaluable. The Law Office of Peter Blair will prepare an aggressive defense and examine every possible option for you and your case. Peter Blair has the legal expertise you need to get through this process and get on with your life. Contact the Law Office of Peter Blair at (619) 357-4977 or fill out an online form to schedule your free consultation today.