How Do California Laws Classify Grand Theft vs. Robbery?

The California penal code can sometimes be complicated, and differentiating between some crimes can be a bit challenging. For example, robbery and theft are crimes associated with unlawfully taking someone else’s property. However, if you’re facing charges for either robbery or theft, each offense covers something different.

It would help to understand the differences between the two charges so that you know how to defend yourself during the trial. Skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can guide you through the legal distinctions, challenges, implications, and consequences of robbery and theft.

What is Robbery?

Robbery is the most severe theft charge in California, charged as a felony. It entails stealing something from someone using threats or use of force. So, even if you didn’t have a weapon but pretended to pull a gun against your target, you could be found guilty of robbery.

The same applies if you threatened to beat someone up if they didn’t hand over their personal property to you, even if you were bluffing. If you or your loved one is facing charges for robbery in Los Angeles, contact experienced Los Angeles robbery lawyers to help you navigate the charges. They can also advise you on protecting your rights during the trial.

Penalties for Robbery in California

The penalties for felonies in California are harsh. Robbery charges can either be first-degree or second-degree. First-degree robbery entails the following crimes:

  • Robbing a bus or taxi driver or passengers
  • Robbing anyone after they’ve used an ATM
  • A robbery that takes place in an inhabited building

The penalties are the following for first-degree robbery:

  • Up to six years in prison, which can increase to nine years if the robbery happened within an inhabited structure involving three or more people
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Supervised probation
  • Felon status for life

Second-Degree Robbery

Second-degree robbery is a lesser charge, but the penalties can be stiff and affect you for the rest of your life upon a conviction. They include:

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Up to five years in prison
  • Supervised probation
  • Felon status for life

Enhanced Penalties for Robbery Charges

You could get an enhanced prison sentence if you:

  • Threatened to use force or used force on multiple people, risking an additional count for each victim
  • Caused great bodily harm to any of your victims, attracting six extra years in prison
  • Used a gun, but no one was hurt, attracting an additional 20 years in prison
  • Used a gun and shot someone, risking life imprisonment

Having an aggressive robbery attorney in Los Angeles represent you as you fight the charges can enhance your chances of getting a more favorable outcome. They can fight to have the charges reduced so that you get less stiff penalties or have them dropped altogether.

What is Theft?

The law stipulates that someone is guilty of theft if they dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another to deprive them of it permanently. It could mean stealing from a shop, pickpocketing someone, or even an employee stealing from the employer. The maximum sentence for theft charges upon a conviction is seven years.

You could also face more severe theft charges known as grand theft. The crime entails stealing property worth more than $950 in value without the use of threat or force. However, there are a few instances when theft is grand, regardless of the value of the stolen property. You could face charges for grand theft if:

  • The property stolen is of a specific type, for example, a firearm, motor vehicle, various agricultural products, or horses.
  • You took the property off the owner, such as grabbing it and running away.

Grand theft is a wobbler offense, meaning the prosecution can decide to charge it as a misdemeanor or felony. Many factors, such as your previous criminal record and the exact circumstances of your case, influence the charge they decide upon.

The Penalties for Theft in California

The penalties for grand theft in California depend on whether the charges are a felony or misdemeanor. If charged as a felony, the penalties are much harsher than for a misdemeanor and can include:

  • Up to three years in prison
  • Felony probation
  • Convicted felon status
  • A strike under California’s Three Strikes Law if the crime involved a firearm

Grand theft charges may also attract penalty enhancements if the offense involves high-value property. The prison term can increase significantly, with additional potential prison time being as follows:

  • An additional one year in prison for property worth over $65,000
  • Two extra years in prison for theft valued at more than $200,000
  • Three extra years in jail for theft valued at more than $1.3 million
  • Additional four years’ imprisonment for theft of property worth more than $3.2 million

If you’re facing charges of grand theft, don’t go to battle alone. Skilled theft defense attorneys in Los Angeles can advise you on what to say and help you determine whether you should accept a plea deal from the prosecution. Remember, the prosecutor is never on your side, and they will do anything to have you plead guilty to the charges.

An Experienced Theft & Robbery Attorney Providing Legal Counsel and Representation

Whether you’re facing robbery or theft charges in Los Angeles, you need the representation of an aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles to defend you. They can use their skills and experience to fight for the best possible outcome for you and your family.

The lawyers at Miranda Rights Law Firm can help you understand the differences between robbery and theft. They can also evaluate your case and help you create a defense strategy that will help you beat the charges. Don’t go to battle alone when facing complex criminal charges. Call us at 213-293-1207 to schedule a FREE consultation.