I do a lot of robbery cases over the years, especially in the San Fernando Valley courthouses like San Fernando, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale and Valencia. But mainly where I’m seeing a lot of these robbery cases being filed in the San Fernando Valley is Van Nuys and the San Fernando Courts 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 the possession of another, from the person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”
Robbery with a Gun
How these cases are handled is, they’re going to look what happened in the robbery. Robbery is a pretty wide umbrella (CALCRIM 1600). You could have your classic 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 over the course of probably since 2008/2009, they passed that 10-year gun law which basically means if you commit a robbery with a gun, they’re going to add 10 years to your sentence just for the gun alone.
That does not include the robbery which could get you an additional 6 years. So, you’re looking at 16 years for a robbery case in the San Fernando Valley when you use a gun. So, that’s probably the most serious/harsh 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 sort of a weapon or some sort of 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.
A lot of times in those types of robberies we’re able to get something less than a robbery — maybe a grand theft person or some sort of a theft-related offense, depending on the circumstances and what you did. Did you hurt anybody?
Did you actually use a weapon in your escape? What was the tussle all about? How serious? How dangerous was it? That’s really 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 to me is kind of a middle-of-the-road robbery which 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 at this point, why is it so important 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 a robbery you’d have a strike on your record. And jail or prison time you serve will be served at 85%. So, obviously 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 I meet with the head prosecutor to try to convince him to get ride of the robbery.
Sometimes you have a defense to the case, but if you don’t have a defense and we can’t attack the witnesses and try and prove that you’re not guilty, then we really 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 kind of a chain reaction.
If you don’t get a robbery you’re probably not going to prison. If you’re not going to prison maybe we can even keep you out of county jail. Even if you do get county jail time a lot of times in today’s county system, you’re serving a very small percentage of the time that you actually get.
If you’ve got a robbery case in the San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys, San Fernando, any of those courthouses in the Valley, 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 a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0940.