Definition and Aspects of Robbery:
Robbery (PC 211) is defined as the act of taking personal property in possession of another. Robbery occurs against the Victim’s will and by force or inflicting fear. Under California Penal Code 211 (PC 211), Robbery is a felony-level offense, which is punishable with time spent in prison, expensive fines, and further life-long consequences.
To be convicted of California Penal Code 211 (PC 211), the Prosecution must prove the following:
- The Defendant took property that wasn’t his/hers
- The property was in possession of another person
- The Defendant took it in the Owner’s immediate presence
- The property was taken against the Owner’s will
- The Defendant utilized fear or force to take ownership of the property
- The Defendant’s intention was to deprive the Owner of the property’s value either permanently, or for an extended period of time
Under California Penal Code 211 (PC 211), the action of ‘taking property’ is referring to gaining possession of an object or moving it – regardless of the distance, against the Owner’s will.
‘Immediate presence’ verbiage is referring to the Owner’s physical control, meaning that the item would’ve stayed in possession of the Owner had it not been for the Defendant’s actions.
Lastly, the major distinguishment between Robbery (PC 211) and other theft laws is that Robbery always involves intimidation or fear. If the Defendant intimidates a person with a gun, who runs away as a response and leaves their belongings behind, it counts as a Robbery, as the Defendant used fear in order to take possession of another’s property. Historically, even the use of drugs against the Victim has been considered as a weapon of intimidation, and gotten Defendants convicted of Robbery, California Penal Code 211 (PC 211).
On the other hand, smaller forms of touching, such as brushing up against the Victim to slip something out of their pocket, does not count as a Robbery (PC 211). If the Defendant pick-pocketed someone, they would not be charged with California Penal Code 211 (PC 211); however, they would be charged with another theft crime.
Criminal Offenses Related to Robbery:
Similar or related offenses to California Penal Code 211 (PC 211), Robbery:
- Kidnapping – California Penal Code 207 (PC 207)
- Carjacking – California Penal Code 215 (PC 215)
- Burglary – California Penal Code 459 (PC 459)
- Grand Theft – California Penal Code 487 (PC 487)
- Petty Theft – California Penal Code 488 (PC 488)
- Extortion – California Penal Code 518 (PC 518)
Examples of Robbery:
A woman is walking home from work when a man blocks her way in an alley. He is holding a knife and is demanding she gives him her purse or he will use his weapon. The woman gets scared and hands over the bag without any struggle. Under California Penal Code 211 (PC 211), the man has committed Robbery and could be charged.
In another scenario, the woman is walking home with her coworker. The robber jumps out with a knife, and she hands over her purse while her coworker holds onto her belongings. The man runs away with only one item. While the coworker kept her property, if convicted, the man would be charged with two counts of Robbery (PC 211) as there were two Victims present at the time of the incident.
Defenses for Robbery:
California Penal Code 211 (PC 211), Robbery law would not apply if the Defendant was under the impression that the property belonged to him/her. This is called the ‘claim of right’ defense, and it can be applied even if the Defendant’s beliefs aren’t reasonable. On the other hand, taking someone else’s property to settle debts will cancel out this claim, and the Defendant would most likely be charged with Robbery (PC 211).
Another common defense for California Penal Code 211 (PC 211), Robbery, is questioning whether the Defendant has used force or fear in order to take someone else’s property. As discussed earlier, the differentiating factor between pick-pocketing and Robbery (PC 211) is the use of force, intimidation, or fear. Without this faction, while the Defendant could potentially face other charges, he/she would not be charged with Robbery (PC 211).
In some instances, the Defendant could be falsely accused of the crime. In certain domestic or personal situations, the alleged Victim might feel the need to make up a Robbery (PC 211) against the Defendant to get back at him/her.
Lastly, in a high-intensity situation, the Victim might misidentify the perpetrator. In some cases, mistaken identity can be what gets the case against the Defendant dropped. A well-versed defense attorney can discredit the circumstantial evidence and get the charges dropped.
Consequences and Penalty for Robbery:
California Penal Code 211 (PC 211) is classified into two categories – first-degree Robbery and second-degree Robbery – and the punishment following a conviction depends on the details of the crime.
First-degree Robbery (PC 211) is the act of taking personal property, with the combination of any of the below factors:
- The Defendant robbed the Victim after he/she used an ATM
- The Victim is the passenger or driver of transportation for hire establishment, such as busses, taxis, trolleys, subways, etc.
- The Defendant robs the Victim in an inhabited house, trailer, or boat
Under California Penal Code 211 (PC 211), first-degree Robbery is a felony. If convicted, the Defendant could face felony probation time, 3-6 years in state prison, and fines up to $10,000. Additionally, if the Defendant committed the crime within an inhabited structure with two or more people present, the maximum prison time increases to nine years.
Second-degree Robbery (PC 211) is vaguely defined as any robbery that does not fall into the guidelines of a first-degree robbery detailed above. Second-degree Robbery (PC 211) is also a felony, punishable with probation, 2-5 years in a California state prison, and fines for up to $10,000.
Additionally, one Defendant can be charged for multiple counts of Robbery (PC 211) for one incident, depending on the number of Victims affected. Counts are not defined by the number of items the Defendant has stolen, but rather the number of people present. If the Defendant had two Victims in one location but only took the purse of one of them, he/she would still be charged with two counts of Robbery (PC 211).
Lastly, there are various other details that can affect the sentencing of the convicted when it comes to California Penal Code 211 (PC 211). If the Defendant causes great bodily injury to the Victim, an additional 3-6 years can be added to the convicted party’s prison sentence. If the Defendant uses a gun to instill fear in the Victim, he/she could face an additional ten years. If the weapon is fired, the extra years can go up to twenty. Lastly, if the Defendant uses a firearm during the Robbery that causes great bodily injury, twenty-five years can be stacked onto the sentence.
California Penal Code 211 (PC 211) is also counted under California’s three-strikes law, meaning that if the person is convicted of a felony, he/she will receive double the penalty for any additional felonies that follow. After the third strike, the Defendant will face 25 years-to-life in a California prison.
Robbery, under California Penal Code 211 (PC 211), is a felony offense that can result in a severe prison sentence, expensive fines, and have the tendency to follow the convicted person for life. It is essential that if you or someone you know is charged with Robbery, you contact an expert attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney on your side, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record of Theft related cases and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Penal Code Section 211 (PC 211), Robbery. Book a free consultation today.