Robbery is a violation of California Penal Code section 211. A robbery occurs when:
- The victim had possession of personal property of some value, however slight.
- The defendant took personal property from victim or from his or her immediate presence.
- The property was taken against the will of the victim.
- The defendant’s act was accomplished by either force or fear.
- The defendant acted with the specific intent to permanently deprive the victim of personal property.
Robbery does not need to involve a weapon. Taking money from a bank by pointing a gun at the teller is certainly a robbery. But taking money from a teller by using a fake gun or even a note is still robbery because the teller gave up the money because of fear. Some shoplifting cases turn into robberies if the shoplifter is confronted by store security and the shoplifter uses force on the security guard to try to get away with the property.
Robbery is one of the enumerated violent felonies, making it a strike. Robbery is punishable in state prison by either 2, 3, or 5 years. That triad increases to 3, 4, or 6 years if the offense is first degree robbery. First degree robbery is the robbery of a driver or passenger on public transportation, a taxicab driver on duty, anyone inside a home, or anyone using an ATM.
Attempted robbery is also a violent felony punishable by 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.
A person convicted of robbery must serve 85% of his or her prison sentence. Persons serving time in prison for robbery are not eligible for “half time.” Also, robbery is not an 1170(h) felony, which means that any non-probation sentence must be served in state prison, not county jail. A person convicted of robbery is presumptively ineligible for a grant of probation and should be sent to state prison according to the law. However, a judge may find that there are unusual circumstances to spare a person convicted of robbery from state prison and give him or her a chance on probation.
Anyone faced with a robbery charge needs an experienced lawyer to fight the charges and, if necessary, convince the judge and the prosecutor to keep the accused out of state prison.