Very simply, robbery is a crime that is split into three categories:
- Basic Robbery
- Aggravated Robbery
- Armed Robbery
But the “simple” legalities end there! Let’s begin with the legal definition of robbery, as this many times comes into a dispute in these cases, as will the severity, force, damage, and inflicting injury to another during the crime.
To secure a conviction for robbery, the prosecutor will have to essentially prove six things:
- You took someone else’s property.
- The victim had possession of the property at the time of the robbery.
- You took the property in their immediate presence.
- It was against their will.
- You used force or fear to keep the other person from resisting.
- You took the property, and you meant to take it either permanently or long enough to deprive the owner of its value.
How, and where the robbery took place also is considered in these cases. California law divides robbery into 1st and 2nd-degree crimes. First-degree robbery is a crime in which any of the following holds:
- The victim is a driver or passenger in a taxi, bus, streetcar, cable car, subway, or other transportation for hire.
- The robbery takes place in an inhabited house, boat, or trailer.
- The robbery happens while or immediately after the victim visits an ATM.
Second-degree robbery would be the case if the robbery occurred where none of the above cases is true.
You begin to see that robbery cases can be legally complex but can carry severe consequences, which very well may change your life. Consulting with a Los Angeles robbery lawyer at the very beginning of your case will help you “get ahead” of it, and possibly greatly reduce the consequences you may face.
What Are “Sentence Enhancements” and How Can They Affect My Robbery Case?
Along with the complexities of a robbery charge, California also has certain “sentence enhancements” which can greatly increase the severity of the consequences you incur.
These enhancements can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Severe bodily injury — If the victim of the robbery suffered a “severe bodily injury”, this can add 3 to 6 years or more to your sentence. Your jury will be looking at the severity of the injury, the extent of pain inflicted and required medical care, and more.
- Use of a firearm — Certain California robbery laws set very harsh penalties for using a firearm while committing a felony.
o An extra 10 years added to your sentence for using a firearm during a robbery.
o An extra 20 if you fire the weapon during the robbery.
o Possibly a 25-to-life sentence if you fire a gun that causes “great bodily harm” or death during the robbery.
- Robbery in concert — If you and two or more people commit a robbery in an inhabited building, prosecutors can seek a sentence of up to 9 years.
- Three Strikes Law — In California, robbery is considered a “violent felony”, so it is subject to the state’s “Three Strikes Law”. A robbery conviction is counted as a “strike.” This means that if you have a second robbery conviction; you may face twice the normal sentence for the charge.
If any of these “enhancements” have been added to your charge, then you must discuss them, and your options with your robbery lawyer as you may be facing double the jail time, or more.
Does California Recognize Different Types of Robbers?
Yes, they do, and this may be of help to your case. Some common kinds of robbery include first offenders, persistent thieves and hustlers, drug addicts, disorganized opportunists, violent robbers, habitual robbers, and skillful planners.
Most of these “robbers” are not professional, and the crimes are more opportunistic. Therefore, robberies committed on public streets and in alleys are the most common type of robbery. It is also a fact though that street robberies tend to involve the use of a weapon and are most often committed by a more irrational male in their teens.
The largest group of robbers, however, involve persons who commit a single robbery and then stop. If you fall into this group, then the California courts may take that into account, and your lawyer may be able to mitigate your sentence. Don’t try this alone, however, as you’ve still been charged with robbery, and only with the expertise and experience of your robbery lawyer will you be able to possibly mitigate or reduce the legal consequences you face.
What Are Some Possible Defenses Against My Robbery Charge?
Remember there are established elements that must be proven to convict you of your robbery charge. These must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt that you stole someone’s property, that the property was in their immediate presence, and that you used force or the threat of force to take the property.
To combat a conviction, your robbery lawyer will attempt to prove that:
- You did not use force or fear to take the property.
- You believed you had a right to the property.
- You are the victim of mistaken identity.
- You have been falsely accused of even committing the crime.
If your criminal defense robbery lawyer can create a reasonable doubt concerning any of these elements, it may be very difficult for your jury to give you a guilty verdict.
Another possibility is that your lawyer may be able to have your charges reduced or mitigated even before your case goes to trial. It’s possible also, that your lawyer may establish that the crime does not rise to the level of first or second-degree robbery.
I Have Been Charged with Robbery in Los Angeles, What Should I Do First?
First, robbery charges can be very serious so don’t try to take on the California courts by yourself. Consult with a Los Angeles professional, experienced robbery lawyer that will fight for you. The Miranda Rights Law Firm will evaluate your case and formulate an excellent legal strategy to provide you the best, most successful, defense possible. Meet with them first and get the experienced help you need.