Theft is a serious crime that if convicted, comes with life-changing consequences. California Penal Code Section 212.5 explains the ramifications of first-degree robbery, and prison is the intended punishment for each circumstance.
A felony charge is not something to face alone. We have experienced criminal defense lawyers that can help you understand how the law applies in your situation. If you are being investigated for first-degree robbery, learn more from our legal team.
How California Defines First-Degree Robbery
Robbery is a felony and is legally defined as taking personal property that is in the possession of someone else from them, against their will by use of force or fear (California Penal Code 211). First-degree robbery has different factors under PC 212.5, which defines it as:
- Taking possessions of a person that is a driver or passenger of certain vehicles
- Taking possessions from an individual located in a home dwelling, inhabited vessel, trailer coach or building
- Taking possessions from a person that is using or just used an ATM machine
Robbery can either be first or second degree, but can not be a misdemeanor. Selecting an attorney that has a successful record with cases involving first-degree robbery is critical.
For a free legal consultation with a lawyer serving California, call (310) 896-2723
The Prosecution’s Defense for a First-Degree Robbery Conviction in California
In order for the accused to be convicted, the prosecutor must show certain circumstances existed for both the accused and the alleged victim.
For the accused, facts that must be proven include:
- They took possession of property that was not their own
- Another person was in possession of the property already
- Possession of the property was immediately taken from the other person
- The property was taken against that person’s will
- The accused resorted to using force or fear to gain possession of the property or force the person to relent
- When the accused used force or fear, they intended to permanently take the property from the owner
The Alleged Victim
For the alleged victim, it must be proven that they were either:
- Driving or riding as a passenger in a transportation vehicle
- Present in a home, an inhabited dwelling, vessel, trailer coach, or section of a building
- Currently or recently using an ATM machine and were still in close proximity to it
Note that obtaining possession of someone’s property is not restricted to a certain distance or time frame. If the property moves for a short time or distance, it is still considered robbery.
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First-Degree Robbery Legal Defense for the Accused
An attorney’s job is to maximize your shot of having a positive outcome with your case. A good lawyer will have valid defenses, but the best criminal defense lawyers have many legal strategies. Some defenses to first-degree robbery include:
Claim of Right
If the accused honestly believed that they had a right to the property, such as losing their laptop in a library, but seeing another person with the exact same laptop, and attempting to retrieve it. If there is reasonable belief that the item is yours, this defense can be used.
If a mask was used, it can be argued that the victim couldn’t have gotten a clear look due to a disguise or visual obstruction.
Unfortunately, people falsely accuse others with their own personal motives. If the accuser can prove they were unjustly blamed, this is a great strategy.
There are certain elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict someone of robbery under Penal Code 212.5. If an underlying robbery did not occur, first-degree charges can be challenged.
Mistake of Fact
If the accused was under reasonable belief that the victim had stolen something from someone else, and they in turn took the item to return it, it would not be considered robbery.
When you discuss your case with an attorney, they will find the perfect defenses that fit the details of your case.
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What Is the Punishment for First-Degree Robbery in California?
Violation of California Penal Code 212.5 calls for first-degree robbery to be punishable by up to nine years in a state prison. If it is committed with two or more people, it can increase your sentence by three, four, or six years. It isn’t a misdemeanor and can’t be served in a county jail.
First-degree robbery is considered a violent felony, which makes it a strike offense under California’s “three strikes law”. Lastly, if someone is convicted of robbery and then charged with any other felony in California, they’ll face twice the normal sentence for that felony.
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What Is the Difference Between First-Degree Robbery and Second-Degree Robbery?
Second-degree robbery occurs in any place not listed for first-degree robberies and is always done by one person. It is considered a felony, and if convicted, is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Contact a Theft Crimes Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation
If charged for violating California Penal Code 212.5, consult with our lawyers about your first-degree robbery charges. A skilled criminal defense attorney will clarify the legal process, prepare you for proceedings, and strategize a solid defense. Contact Simmrin Law Group today!
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form