9580 Oak Avenue Parkway, Suite 7-199, Folsom, CA 95630 • 877-432-5325 toll-free • 877-837-3609 fax

Criminal Defense Information for Robbery (Cal. Penal Code s. 211)

  1. What is Robbery?
  2. What are the necessary elements to be found guilty of Robbery?
  3. What is the sentence / punishment for Robbery?
  4. What are possible defenses to charges of Robbery?
  1. What is Robbery?

    Robbery is the taking of personal property from the person of another or in his immediate presence, against his will, through the use of force or fear. Cal. Pen. Code s. 211 Opens in New Window.

    The fear may be fear of unlawful injury to the victim or his property, to his relatives, or to anyone with the victim at the time of the robbery. Cal. Pen. Code s. 212 Opens in New Window.

    There are two types of Robbery: first and second degree Robbery. Cal. Pen. Code s. 212.5 Opens in New Window.

    First degree robbery includes any robbery of:

    • Any person performing his duties as an operator of a bus, taxi, cable car, train, light rail, airplane, etc., that is used for the transportation of people for hire or any passenger thereon; or
    • Any inhabited house, houseboat, RV, trailer, etc.; or
    • Any person while using an ATM or immediately after using the ATM while still in the vicinity of the ATM.

    Cal. Pen. Code s. 212.5 (a) and (b) Opens in New Window.

    Second degree robbery is any other type of robbery. Cal. Pen. Code s. 212.5 (c) Opens in New Window.

  2. What are the necessary elements to be found guilty of Robbery?

    To prove the defendant committed Robbery, the state must show that the defendant:

    1. Took the personal property of another;
    2. From the victim's body or immediate presence;
    3. Without permission from the victim; and
    4. Through use of fear or force.

    Cal. Pen. Code s. 211 Opens in New Window.

  3. What is the sentence / punishment for Robbery?

    Robbery is a felony. Robbery in the first degree is generally punishable by three, four, or six years in prison. Cal. Pen. Code s. 213 (a)(1)(B) Opens in New Window.

    If the first degree Robbery is committed in concert with two or more other perpetrators and takes place in an inhabited home (including houseboats, RVs, trailers, etc.), the penalty is three, six, or nine years in prison. Cal. Pen. Code s. 213 (a)(1)(A) Opens in New Window. This type of Robbery is typically referred to as a "home invasion" robbery.

    Robbery in the second degree is punishable by two, three, or five years in prison. Cal. Pen. Code s. 213 (a)(2) Opens in New Window.

  4. What are possible defenses to charges of Robbery?

    To prove someone committed a crime, the state (through its prosecutors) must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed each element of the crime. Therefore, defenses to any crime start with negating one or more of the elements of the crime. Additionally, some crimes allow for “affirmative” defenses which, if the defendant can prove the defense applies, will result in a verdict of “not guilty” even if the prosecutor proves the defendant met each of the elements of the crime.

    If the prosecutor can prove all the elements of Robbery, however, the defendant must prove that one or more justifications for his actions existed (i.e., it is the defendant’s burden to prove an affirmative defense). For Robbery, some of these justifications include:

    • Alibi;
    • Duress / Threats;
    • Necessity;
    • Accident;
    • Entrapment; and
    • Statute of Limitations.
See also, Burglary, Carjacking, Grand Theft, Petty Theft.