Robbery Defense Attorney
California penal law defines robbery as the taking of property from someone by means of “force or fear.” It differs from burglary or theft in that robbery involves person-to-person contact and an element of force.
Robbery is a serious felony offense that is subject to California’s Three Strikes law and can result in years behind bars. Armed robbery can carry even stiffer consequences. People charged with robbery need an effective and experienced criminal defense attorney working on their behalf.
If you or a loved one is facing a robbery charge in San Diego, call the Law Offices of Stephen Cline today. Don’t wait to hire a defense attorney – do it now.
The Elements of Robbery — Penal Code Section 211
Section 211 PC is the portion of California criminal law that defines robbery. There are three elements of robbery that prosecutors must prove to get a conviction:
- Personal property was taken from someone
- It occurred in the immediate presence of the victim
- The property was taken against the victim’s will through the use of force or fear
- The accused intended to possess the property for an extended period of time.
When many of us think of robbery, we think of a masked man with a gun demanding money at a bank, or someone being beaten and robbed in an alley. But force is not required for a crime to count as a robbery. The threat of force is sufficient to sustain a robbery charge. Some people who think they are committing a burglary end up charged with robbery for uttering a threat as they try to escape. Courts have even held that drugging a person without their knowledge to steal their belongings constitutes force.
There are two types of robbery charges in California: first-degree robbery and second-degree robbery. Both are felonies.
First-degree robbery is charged when any of the following happens:
- The robbery occurs in an occupied dwelling (this can include trailers and boats)
- The victim was using, or had just used, an ATM
- The victim is a driver or passenger of a taxi, train, streetcar or other for-hire mode of transportation
Carjacking – stealing a car in the presence of the victim — is also considered robbery.
Second-degree robbery includes all types of forcible theft not covered under the first-degree robbery statute.
Other similar or related offenses include:
- Grand Theft and Petty Theft: California Penal Code Section 484 PC, California Penal Code Section 487(a) PC
- Burglary: California Penal Code Section 459 PC
- Extortion: California Penal Code Section 518 PC
Determining a Robbery Sentence
Generally speaking, first-degree robbery carries a sentence of 3 to 9 years in state prison, and second-degree robbery is punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison. But there are special circumstances in determining a robbery sentence:
- If a gun was used, 10 years are added to the robbery sentence.
- If a gun was fired during the robbery, 20 years are added to the sentence.
- Attempted robbery can also result in state prison time.
Why You Need a Robbery Attorney
Regardless of which robbery charge you are facing, it is in your best interest to hire a criminal defense attorney. Prosecutors are already working to build a case against you. You need a robbery attorney on your side building your defense.
You should have a serious attorney, and you should make sure you choose the right serious attorney.
- Has the attorney represented people facing the same charges before?
- Does the attorney have a sound strategy to defend your case? You should ask this before you make your decision.
- Does the attorney have a documented record of successful verdicts and resolutions in criminal cases?
- Does the attorney have high peer rating (i.e. Martindale-Hubbel.com) or other honors (i.e. San Diego Daily Transcript Top Attorney or AVVO.com) that their support experience and success claims?
Stephen Cline has all these things under his belt. He has been a criminal defense lawyer in San Diego for 20 years. He knows how the district attorney’s office operates, and he knows how to take them on successfully. That’s why he has an impressive record of successfully defending people charged with all sorts of crimes in San Diego.
Consequences of a Robbery Conviction
Robbery isn’t like shoplifting or petty theft. It’s considered a violent felony offense. If you are convicted, you face not only prison time, but also being labeled a violent felon. This will pose problems that will stay with you long after you get out of prison – like getting a job, for instance. Prospective employers can legally ask you if you have a felony conviction. You will also be permanently barred from purchasing or owning firearms.
To prevent this, you need to be sure you have the best legal representation possible. In California, criminal defense attorneys face determined and aggressive prosecutors who can bring to bear all the resources of the government. People charged with robbery need a skilled and able defense attorney who will fight for them.
Defending a Robbery Charge
Here’s how the Law Office of Stephen Cline handles robbery cases:
First, as in any case, we work to have the robbery charge dropped outright from the start. This can happen due to insufficient evidence, investigative oversights or more. Attorney Stephen Cline has even managed to get armed robbery charges dismissed.
If the charge sticks, we aim to have it reduced. If we are successful, this may mean you face a misdemeanor and not a felony – meaning there is no risk of state prison, and a felony will not go down on your record. If the charge is reduced, we will begin building a rigorous defense against that charge in hopes of acquittal or dismissal.
Lastly, we’ll take your case to trial if necessary. We are an experienced trial firm that has what it takes to successfully present a case to a jury. We treat every case as if it will head to trial so that we are always prepared.
Specific defenses of a robbery charge might include:
- There was no force or threat of force.
- You were misidentified by witnesses.
- Evidence was misinterpreted or tampered with.
- You did not intend to deprive the person of their property for an extended period of time.
- You legitimately believed that the property rightfully belonged to you.
Robbery is a ‘Three Strikes’ Crime
Robbery and carjacking fall under California’s Three Strikes law. A convicted felon with a prior strike faces double prison time for any future strike convictions. A third serious felony conviction can mean life in prison.
The stakes are high if you are charged with robbery in California. You need a robbery attorney who knows how to handle serious felonies. Stephen Cline has handled more than 300 Three Strikes cases, and not one of those clients is serving a life sentence.
Get a San Diego Robbery Attorney
If you or a loved one is charged with robbery, you need a criminal defense attorney. Even if you are eligible for a public defender, we recommend you hire a private attorney if possible. Unlike public defenders, private attorneys have much more freedom to manage their caseload and ensure that each case gets the attention it deserves. Stephen Cline is a former assistant public defender. He knows this from experience.