Let's review when someone likely receives prison time if charged with robbery, defined under California Penal Code 211 PC. Robbery is a serious charge, and prosecutors and judges are harsh regarding these offenses.
The reason why is that it is considered a violent felony pursuant to the Three Strikes Law, and people are taking another person or entity's property away with either the threat of force or actual force itself. That's why prosecutors are so tough on these types of offenses.
When we think about when somebody will go to prison, many different factors will be considered. But, first and foremost, they will look at the person's criminal record.
Suppose somebody has no record, and this is their first offense. In that case, they have a much better chance of not going to prison and being allowed to try and be successful on probation.
Another significant factor will be, did the person use a gun? I would say most robberies where guns were used; the prosecutors will be adamant that the person receive a lengthy prison sentence.
That's because there's a gun enhancement. They can add ten years for using a gun in addition to the robbery, which has a term of six, so a person is looking at 16 years even for that first robbery offense. So that's why it's so challenging to avoid prison.
Avoiding a Lengthy Prison Sentence
An argument that can be used to avoid a lengthy prison sentence in a robbery case is to say the following:
- This was an aberration;
- This was the person's first offense;
- There are unusual circumstances surrounding the offense;
- Maybe the person has a mental illness;
- Maybe they're on drugs or both.
Also, if you can argue that no serious force was used or nobody was hurt – these are all good things to try to angle the case up to get the best result.
If this is the person's first felony, if it's the first time they would be going into custody, these are also arguments that the prosecutors will consider.
What will end up happening is that the court will order a probation report where the person can be interviewed. Most times, lawyers don't want their clients interviewed, so they report with no interview and the following:
- They're going to look at the person's criminal record;
- They're going to talk to the victims in the case;
- They're going to talk to the law enforcement agency in charge of the case,
- They'll even talk with the defendant or their attorney;
- They might even talk to the prosecutor.
Ultimately, they will send the report to the court and make a recommendation from the probation department for what they think the person should get, sentence-wise. If they recommend probation, that puts you in a much better position to avoid prison.
But realize, even if probation is recommended and if a lawyer can get probation for their client in a robbery case, the person is still looking at custody time because, with probation, you can get anywhere from 0 days in jail up to 364 days in the county jail or anywhere in between.
So, as you start to evaluate this, you see many factors involved. There are a lot of moving parts. You want to get the best criminal defense attorney you can find.
I've been doing this now for 30 years. If you need the best, pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. We offer a free case evaluation. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, CA.