Los Angeles Robbery Defense Lawyer

Criminal Defense Attorneys Protecting the Legal Rights of People Accused of Robbery

Robbery is a very serious crime in the State of California, and an individual who has been convicted of robbery can face some very serious criminal penalties, including a lengthy prison term. In addition, a robbery conviction can have a significant impact on your professional life, as a criminal record can make it harder to get a job or be accepted into an academic or job training program.

California robbery law is governed by Section 211 of the California Penal Code. The law in California defines robbery as taking personal property from another person (or from that person’s immediate presence), against that person’s will, and through the use of force or threat of force.

If you have been accused of robbery, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at our law firm to review the details of your case in order to start preparing an effective defense strategy.

Common Examples of Robbery

Some common examples of a California robbery offense included the following:

  • The classic example of stealing items or money by force from a store, business, or bank
  • Drugging someone (i.e. using force) and stealing their property while they are still unconscious or under the influence of the drug
  • Breaking into the dwelling place of another (i.e. committing a burglary) and using or threatening the occupants with physical force in order to take possession of property within the house

Robberies are categorized into first, second, and third degree robberies, depending upon the nature and circumstances of the offense. The most serious type of robbery charge – first degree robbery – includes any robbery that occurs in a home or other inhabited structure, robbery involving a public transportation driver (such as a bus, cab, or subway driver), or robbery of an ATM user. All robberies that do not fit the definition of first degree robberies are treated as second degree robberies in California. Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our office for more information.

Legal Penalties for a Robbery Conviction

The penalties associated with a robbery conviction can vary widely based on the circumstances of your case, but generally may include probation, community service, restitution, significant fines, and even jail time. Here are some of the consequences authorized by law for robbery:

  • First Degree Robbery – 3, 4, or 6 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Second Degree Robbery – 2, 3 or 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines

There are certain things that can enhance the penalties that you are facing in a robbery case, such as the use of a gun or causing great bodily injury during the commission of a robbery.

In addition, because robbery is considered a violent felony in California, a conviction will be considered a “strike’ for the purposes of California’s three-strikes law.

California’s Three Strikes Law

Robbery is a violent crime and categorized as a strike pursuant to the “Three Strikes Law” in California and in my experience the prosecutors are usually looking to send a person to prison if they commit a robbery, unless the defense can show that there are “unusual circumstances” surrounding the case. What qualifies as unusual circumstances is a subjective assessment on the part of the prosecutor and judge. It is typically a situation where the person charged with robbery did not act in the same dangerous manner as a usual robber and the crime involved much less risk to the public than a normal robbery case. As you might guess this is a nebulous situation and there are differing results all over Los Angeles, because of factors like which court the case is in, who the judge and prosecutor is on the case, what the person’s criminal record looks like and of course how their attorney presents their story to the powers that be.

Other factors that the judge and prosecutor will consider when discussing a robbery case involve special characteristics of the particular defendant. Character letters from friends and family speaking to the person’s good standing in the community are always helpful to me in order to paint a positive picture of my client. If they are married with kids and a job then the prosecutor will view them differently than a seasoned criminal with a checkered past. Not all cases are the same and all persons charged with a crime must be evaluated on who they are, what their criminal record looks like, their age and a host of other factors that are used to evaluate how dangerous they are to the community at large and whether they are likely to commit this type of crime again. Speak with a criminal defense lawyer at our office for more detailed information.


Typically a robbery is accomplished when someone takes away another property by force or fear. However, there are circumstances when the property is taken without the victim actually being present at the time and the force or fear occurs as the person who took the property tries to escape. This is called an “Estes” robbery because, even though there was not force or fear used by the defendant at the time of the taking, they can still be charged with robbery because a court determined that the force or fear, for purposes of robbery, can be met by showing it was used as the person was getting away with the property.

For example, if someone takes some merchandise at the store and puts it in their pocket, that would be a simple theft case. However, if as they are exiting the store, the store security tries to stop them and any type of force or fear is used to get away, then the crime would be upgraded to robbery and the person would be looking at much harsher consequences for their actions. What the prosecutors really seem to be looking at is just how dangerous the person was when they committed the crime. The less dangerous, the more likely they will be given a break. On the other hand, if the person’s conduct was very dangerous and could have resulted in a serious injury or even death, then the prosecutor and judge will be looking to hammer them for their actions.


If a person uses a weapon to commit a robbery then that will up the stakes and they will not only be facing time for the robbery itself, but for the use of the weapons as well. Because the use of a weapon ups the risk factor for the public and is much more likely to end in bad consequences the time a person is facing could be life altering. For example, if the person used a gun to commit a robbery, they will typically be looking at a minimum of 12 years in prison. This is calculated by 2 years for the robbery, which is the low term, and an additional 10 years for the use of a gun during the commission of the robbery. If you or a loved one has a robbery case pending, then you are best served by getting to an experienced savvy criminal defense attorney right away.

What must the prosecutors prove to convict? 

A person can be found for Robbery if the government can prove that:

  • The person took property that was not their own, the property was taken from another’s possession and immediate presence against their will;
  • The person used force or fear to take the property or to prevent the other from resisting
  • With the intent to permanently deprive them of possession or do so for a long enough duration as to remove the major portion of value or enjoyment from the property.

Call a Los Angeles Robbery Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with robbery in the State of California, it is absolutely essential that you have an attorney on your side representing you throughout your case. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney may be able to assist you with formulating the necessary legal defense(s) to your charges and help you to obtain a dismissal, charge reduction, and/or a favorable plea deal.

Call the Hedding Law Firm at 866-986-2092 for a free case evaluation.