Robbery is typically depicted as an act of pitiless greed but is more often an act of desperation. Regardless of the motive for the theft, however, when charged with robbery, the accused should likely expect aggressive prosecution and potentially harsh consequences.
Penalties for first-degree robbery in the state of California can result in prison sentences between three to nine years, up to $10,000 in fines, as well as probation. Second-degree robbery felonies come with penalties of two to five years in state prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and probation. Certain aggravating factors in the crime could result in prison sentences of 25 years to life.
What is the Legal Definition of Robbery?
According to the California penal code, “Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”
Robbery is a felony in California, regardless of the particular circumstances of the case. There are different levels of offense, however, with their different resulting consequences. Additionally, there are certain enhancements for sentencing which may come into effect, such as causing bodily harm or the use of a deadly weapon.
What is the Difference Between First-Degree and Second-Degree Robbery?
In California, first-degree robbery is applied to the robbery of an occupied home, business, trailer, boat, motor vehicle, or cable car. The robbery of someone who is using or has just finished using an ATM also constitutes a first-degree charge. The crime could have been committed by one individual or several.
Second-degree robbery in the state of California is any other type of theft of property or assets that do not belong to the person. A necessary element of any successful robbery charge is “fear,” such as fear of injury to the person being robbed or any bystanders who are witnesses to the crime.
What Could Enhance a Sentence for Robbery?
An aggravated robbery could lead to sentencing enhancements. If a robbery case includes any of the following, the accused could face additional charges:
- Serious bodily injuries and personal harm can add years to a prison sentence depending on the injury and are determined on a case-by-case basis.
- Use of a firearm can result in ten extra years being added to a prison sentence.
- Discharging a firearm can result in 20 additional years in sentencing.
- The firing of a gun resulting in critical injuries or death can result in 25 or more additional years in state prison.
- Robbery in concert, wherein two or more people rob an inhabited building, could result in nine additional years in prison.
- California’s Three Strikes Law constitutes a robbery as a strike. Additional convictions could result in more strikes against the accused. With three strikes, the accused could face 25 years to life.
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