What is a Robbery in California? (Penal Code section 211)
A robbery in California requires proof by the prosecution that:
1. The defendant took property that was not (his/her) own.
2. The property was in the possession of another person.
3. The property was taken from the other person or taken in the person’s immediate presence.
4. The property was taken against that person’s will.
5. The defendant used force or fear to take the property or used force or fear to make the other person allow the property to be taken.
Some issues in robbery cases include the timing of the use of force. One can have a gun but not draw it until the property is taken. That would not be robbery although the use of a gun to threaten is a crime by itself. If ownership of the item taken is in question, taking the object even over the objection of another person may not be a robbery.
Robbery cases are often plea bargained to a lesser crime such as a grand theft. However in California there is usually no easy plea bargain for a person using a gun to create the fear that is an element of a robbery.
The perpetrator commits first degree robbery when they victimize someone who is a driver of a vehicle for hire such as a taxi or when the robbery takes place in a house, boat that is inhabited or a person has used an ATM. The difference is the penalty for the crime.
A 2nd degree robbery is a 2,3 or 4 year crime. A 1st degree robbery carries a 3,4 or 5 year base sentence.
Robbery charges are serious and you should immediately seek legal assistance.