Robbery (Penal Code Section 211)

The crime of robbery is a felony. It is a very serious charge with the potential for a long prison sentence. If you have been charged with robbery, you need to consult with an experienced Orange County robbery defense attorney immediately. Depending upon the circumstances, an experienced criminal attorney may be able to obtain a reduction in the charges or even secure a dismissal of the charge.

I am an experienced criminal defense attorney with proven results and I promise to vigorously defend your rights to the full extent of the law. I have successfully defended hundreds of clients, including those charged with robbery. Contact me at any time to set up a confidential consultation with a robbery defense attorney in Orange County without charge. I will work with you and your family to provide a fee structure that best suits your circumstances.

The Elements of Robbery

California Penal Code section 211 defines "robbery" as "the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear."

But what does that mean? Simply put, robbery requires the taking of personal property from another person without his or her consent by some type of threat or force. It doesn't necessarily mean you took it directly out of that other person's hands; the property need only be under that person's control or right to possess and near enough that the person from whom the property is taken could gain physical control of the property. The crime of robbery does not require that the property have any specific value; the property can be of minimal value, it does not matter.

A robbery can occur when personal property is taken from another and moved only the slightest distance or taken only for a temporary period of time. All that is required is that the property is moved from someone's immediate possession and/or control with an intent to deprive the person of the use of the property either permanently or long enough that the person would lose a major portion of the property's value and enjoyment.

If someone willingly gives another person his or her personal property, it cannot be a robbery since robbery requires that the property taken is taken from someone against his or her will. To take against the will of another simply means that there was no consent to take the property.

Finally, robbery requires that taking of the property be accomplished with force or fear. Really this is two sides of the same coin. Force or fear is usually found whenever the person taking the property overcomes the resistance of another to keep the property that he or she rightfully possesses. Force, by the way, can be accomplished without a weapon. As an example, if someone kicked a man to the ground and then took his wallet, that would be robbery.

Robbery vs. Burglary

People often mistake the crime of robbery for burglary. Actually the two crimes are distinctly different, as a robbery defense lawyer in Orange County can explain. Burglary is committed when someone enters an inhabited structure, such as a house, or breaks into a locked vehicle with the intention of committing any felony or a petty theft. A burglary can be committed without taking any property, say for example, when someone enters a house with the intent to rape another person. A robbery can occur during a burglary. An example would be someone entering another person's residence with the intent and actual commission of holding up someone in that home at gunpoint and demanding that he or she turn over all of his or her money. In that case, the burglary occurred when the person entered the home with the intent to rob someone and the robbery occurred when the person forced the inhabitant to turn over all of his or her money. Of course, a robbery does not require any entry into a residence (or locked vehicle); a robbery can occur anywhere.


Robbery is a felony with significant sentencing potential. Robbery is considered a "violent felony" under Penal Code Section 667.5(c). That means the crime is considered a "strike" under California's "Three Strikes Law" and a conviction of robbery will result in a strike with the potential for greater punishment.

Each robbery, even if committed at the same time, can result in separate charges and convictions. As an example, if three men are all held up at gunpoint at the same time and each of their wallets taken, that would likely be charged as three separate charges of robbery.

Most common robberies, of the type described above, are classified as second degree robbery. Second degree robbery is punishable by two, three, or five years imprisonment in the state prison.

Under certain circumstances, a robbery becomes a first degree robbery as set forth in the California Penal Code section 212.5. First degree robbery includes the robbery of the driver or passengers of a commercial vehicle such as a taxi, the robbery of persons in an inhabited dwelling such as a house, or the robbery of someone using an ATM. A first degree robbery can result in a sentence of three, four, or six years imprisonment in state prison and even more (up to nine years) if you robbed an inhabited home with at least two other people.

Sentencing may also be "enhanced," meaning additional time added to the sentence, under certain circumstances such as the personal use of a firearm during the commission of the crime. An Orange County robbery defense lawyer can help you try to fight back against sentence enhancements.

California Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog - Robbery
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