If you don’t know, robbery has been declared a strike pursuant to the California Three Strikes Law and the legislature of California. It is characterized as a violent felony because usually somebody’s doing something violent during the robbery, whether it be using force or fear to take somebody’s property away. California Penal Code 211 describes the crime of robbery, which is considered a type of theft crime offense.
Most times a robbery is going to occur where the property is taken away from the person’s immediate presence, but there are examples when there’s no force or fear used to take the property, but the robber uses the force or fear during the escape. That’s called an Estes Robbery. It’s the same as a regular robbery. It comes with the same penalties and consequences.
Serve 85% of Jail Sentence
For example, the person would be looking at serving 85% of whatever time they get in either county jail or prison. The prosecutors in Los Angeles county, as far as robberies go, have a policy that any conviction for a robbery, the individual is sent to prison. Usually it’s for a minimum of two years.
There are exceptions to that rule. Those pretty much have to do with what they characterize as unusual circumstances; meaning, there’s something unique going on about the robbery. There’s something unique about the individual committing the robbery that takes it outside the regular category of robbery.
Types of Robbery Crimes
There’s a whole bunch of different ways that a person can get charged with a robbery. There’s strong-arm robberies where someone runs up and snatches somebody’s purse or jewelry away.
I had one case where the client met an individual at a Starbuck’s to buy an expensive Rolex watch and basically snatched the watch away from the person and ran out of the Starbuck’s. That was characterized as a robbery.
It’s a high dollar item, but no force or fear was used and the defendant was young, so we were able to characterize that as a unique situation versus the usual strong-arm robbery where someone is grabbing something from somebody or someone is threatening to kill somebody for example. That’s the fear element in order to take their property away.
Once you use a weapon during the course of a robbery — for example, a gun or deadly weapon — that puts you in whole new category. Now you’re looking at ten years for the gun use plus another two years minimum for the robbery.
So, a lot of times the prosecutors are starting off with a 12 year prison offer at 85%. If they’re offering you anything less than that then they really think they’re giving you a gift. So, that kind of gives you a feel for what happens with these robbery cases.
Then you get the conviction and now you’ve got a robbery on your record forever that you can’t get off. It’s difficult to get employment and if you were to pick up any new felonies, the robbery starts to put you in a position where your sentence could be doubled from what it normally would be pursuant to the Three Strikes Law.
Avoiding a Robbery Conviction in California
So, a lot of times what I’m doing as a criminal defense attorney in these robbery cases is, I’m trying to not get a robbery conviction. Sometimes they have the evidence on my client. They committed the robbery. There’s witnesses. They admitted it.
There’s a whole host of different evidence that can be used against them, so I have to figure out how am I going to avoid this robbery conviction? Well, I have to try to take the person outside the gamut of what a robbery usually is — outside that violence gamut — that threat of fear — and put it inside a different category.
One crime that I’ve used successfully in place of robbery when my client is guilty of the crime and is going to have to take a conviction, is grand theft person, Penal Code Section 487c. That is not strike.
It can even later be reduced down to a misdemeanor if the deal is set up right. So, that’s one crime that can be useful in a robbery case. There are other crimes, but that one usually tends to make the most sense, because if somebody is being charged with robbery, a lot of times that person has taken property away from a person by force or fear and it sits well within that Penal Code §487c – Framework.
So, getting another crime besides robbery is one of the things that we obviously want to do. Keeping the person out of prison is another thing that we want to try to do.
So, there’s a lot of different considerations and a lot of different aspects of a robbery case depending on the person’s criminal record too. There’s some people who are young and have no record; there’s other people who have records.
So, that’s going to dictate a different view by a judge and a prosecutor, so obviously the more of a record you have, the more likely you are to not be able to avoid the robbery conviction and the more likely you are to go to prison.
Your only hope of having a good run at either defending yourself if there are some aspects of a defense or getting a lesser charge or avoiding prison and a strike, is to have a criminal defense attorney who knows how to handle these robbery cases in Los Angeles.
Categorised in: Theft Crimes