Robbery with a Gun
I have done a lot of robbery cases over the years in Los Angeles County, especially in the San Fernando Valley Courts like Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale, and Valencia. But mainly where I'm seeing many of these robbery cases being filed in the San Fernando Court because they control most of the territory in the Valley. Robbery charges are defined under California Penal Code 211 as:
- “the felonious taking of personal property in possession of another, from the person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished using force or fear.”
How these cases are handled is that they will look at what happened in the robbery. Robbery is a pretty broad umbrella (CALCRIM 1600). You could have your traditional robbery where somebody goes into a store with a gun, points the gun at people, and demands goods or money or whatever else they're in there to get.
That scenario is probably the worse type of robbery, and that is going to be handled in a very serious manner because you've got the gun combined with taking people's stuff and risk people's lives, so you're in a position where the authorities — the prosecutor, the judge and even the police to a degree — are going to be very harsh in dealing with that type of robbery offense.
What they have done throughout probably since 2008/2009, they passed that 10-year gun law, which means if you commit a robbery with a gun, they're going to add ten years to your sentence just for the gun alone. That does not include the robbery, which could get you an additional six years. So, you're looking at 16 years for a robbery case when you use a gun. So, that's probably the most severe robbery.
Then you go to the other extreme where somebody goes into a store, steals some food, runs out of the store and then is chased by the clerk or the security at the store — like at a Ralph's for example — and in their escape the person says, give us back that food, and they say, get away from me.
I'll kill you, or they use some weapon or some force — maybe they punched somebody or pushed somebody — now you have what's called an Estes Robbery. The person didn't even use a gun or a weapon, and really when they took the stuff, they didn't use any force.
They just grabbed it and ran out. But the force was used during the escape. Unfortunately, that's still a robbery, but I would put that as a lower-grade robbery. Often in those types of robberies, we're able to get something less than a theft — maybe a grand theft person or some theft-related offense, depending on the circumstances and what you did. Did you hurt anybody?
Did you use a weapon in your escape? What was the tussle all about? How serious? How dangerous was it? That's going to determine whether they're going to mitigate that robbery, or do you have any other robberies or burglaries on your criminal record.
Then you have other types of robberies that I would characterize as strong-arm robberies. Maybe you're walking on the street; you threaten somebody — give me your phone, give me your money. That is kind of a middle-of-the-road robbery that is still going to be treated seriously. It is still a robbery, but if nobody gets hurt and you didn't use a weapon in that robbery, you're kind of in the middle zone there and still have a chance to avoid a robbery charge.
People might be asking why it is so essential to avoid a robbery, and the answer to that is a robbery is a strike. A robbery is a violent felony. So, if you plead guilty to theft, you'd have a strike on your record. And jail or prison time you serve will be served at 85%. So, those are two big problems you don't want to deal with.
That's another thing when you're talking about robbery — whether it be either a low-grade, a middle-grade, or a high-grade — usually, the prosecutor's position on robberies is they're sending the person to prison because they don't feel that person deserves to get probation. That person is a danger to the community. They're committing serious crimes, so, therefore, they're going to want to send that particular person to prison. So, if you don't want to go to prison, you want to try to avoid a robbery conviction.
Negotiation with Prosecutor for Best Outcome
That's one of the big things I do for a mitigation package that I will send to the prosecutors before meeting with the head prosecutor to convince him to get rid of the robbery. Sometimes you have a defense to the case, but you don't have a defense. We can't attack the witnesses and try and prove that you're not guilty, then we have to get that mitigation to the Valley prosecutors and try to convince him to give you something other than a robbery because that causes a chain reaction.
If you don't get a robbery, you're probably not going to prison. Maybe we can even keep you out of county jail if you're not going to prison. Even if you get county jail time a lot of times in today's county system, you're serving a tiny percentage of the time you call.
If you've got a robbery case in any Los Angeles Court, pick up the phone. I've been doing this for 26 years. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy helping people. Sometimes people have reasons why they get themselves wrapped up in a robbery case, and it's going to be my job to try to unwrap you and get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible. Hedding Law Firm is based in LA County and offers a free case review by phone, or you can fill out our contact form.