Pasadena and Los Angeles Theft Lawyer Ann Gottesman Describes CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE SECTION 211 below:


Under California Penal Code section 211, Robbery is defined as, “the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”

Robbery is a felony offense and punishable in the state prison by two to nine years, depending upon whether the District Attorney charged the defendant with a first degree or a second degree robbery.

first degree robbery is the most serious type of robbery. First degree robberies apply to those robberies committed against drivers or passengers in a commercial vehicle, robberies committed in an inhabited dwelling, such as a home, and robberies committed against people who are using or have just finished using an ATM.

If convicted of a first degree robbery, the penalty is three, four, or six years in the state prison. However, if you and two or more others robbed an inhabited dwelling, you will face three, six or nine years in the state prison.

Second degree robbery is any robbery that is not a first degree robbery. The penalty of a second degree robbery is two, three or five years in state prison.

Robbery is considered a serious and violent felony under the law, making it a Strike. Also, the penalties for a robbery can be much more than the standard sentence if there were aggravated factors, such as if a weapon was used, if the robbery was gang related, or if the victim was injured.

Pasadena Theft Attorney explains what the Prosecutor Must Prove for You to Be Convicted of Robbery:

Elements of the Offense:

There are many defenses to the charge of first or second degree robbery. But to be convicted of a robbery, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The property you took did not belong to you,
  2. You took the property from another person's possession or immediate presence,
  3. It was against that person's will,
  4. You were using force or threats, and
  5. When you took the property, you intended to deprive the owner of it permanently or for such an extended period of time that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property.

It is important to understand that robbery, unlike grand theft or other theft offenses, is not concerned with the dollar value of the item(s). So, for example, the item taken in a robbery could be something as small as a stick of gum.

Los Angeles Theft Lawyer Explains the Elements for the Crime of Robbery (PC 211):

As you can see from above, the prosecution must prove 5 elements before a Defendant can be convicted of a robbery.

  1. The first element requires the prosecution prove that the Defendant gained possession of the victim’s property and carried it away. “Carrying it away” means that the Defendant actually has to move the property some distance away from the victim, even if it is a very short distance. Returning the property to the victim, even if done so immediately after the taking, is not a defense to this crime.
  2. The second element requires the District Attorney prove the property actually or constructively belonged to the victim. This means the victim either owned the property that was taken, or was in possession of it at the time of the taking. So the victim has to have a possessory interest in the property taken. The second element also has a requirement that the property have been in the “immediate presence” of the victim when the Defendant took it. In other words, the property, if not physically on the victim’s person, must be within reach of the victim, such that the property still would have logically been in the victim’s control if he had not been forced to relinquish that control as a result of the robbery.
  3. The third element states that the Defendant must be shown to have taken the property “against the person’s will”, meaning the victim did not consent to the taking. But this does not mean that the victim has to be aware that his property is being taken at the time of the robbery. (Ex: The victim can realize after a struggle with his wallet that the robber had also taken the gold chain that had been on his neck. Even though the victim didn’t realize his chain was taken until after the robber fled, the robber could still be prosecuted for robbery of the chain.).
  4. The fourth element requires the District Attorney prove that the victim was induced to relinquish his or her property as a result of the Defendant using force or fear. So, a Defendant who verbally or physically threatens the victim with harm to the victim’s person, property, or to another person present during the incident, would qualify as using fear. Force can be shown if the Defendant physically takes the victim’s property by overcoming the victim’s resistance. Force or fear can even be sufficient for a robbery if the victim initially gave the property to the Defendant but then the Defendant used force or fear to keep the property. For example, if a Defendant says to the victim “Can I see your beautiful watch?” The victim gives the Defendant the watch to look at but then the Defendant pulls out a knife and says, “I’m taking this watch and if you try to stop me, I will kill you.” This could be charged as a robbery even though the Defendant’s initial possession of the watch was legal with the victim’s consent!

If any one of the elements is not supported by the evidence then the accused is not guilty of committing a robbery. There are many legal defenses to the crime of robbery. Some of these defenses include the defense of “claim of right”, identity, lack of force or fear, and of course, an alleged victim can falsely accuse a person of committing a robbery. There may be other defenses to the crime of robbery that a good criminal defense lawyer can present when representing you in court.

It is important if you or someone you care about was arrested or charged for committing a robbery, in violation of Penal Code section 211, that you immediately contact a knowledgeable a Pasadena robbery defense lawyer.

Pasadena and Los Angeles theft lawyer Ann Gottesman has successfully and compassionately represented many people accused of robbery and other serious and violent offenses. She is here to help fight for your freedom and aggressively and compassionately represent you in your criminal case.

Call Los Angeles robbery defense attorney Ann now for a free consultation if you or a loved one is being accused of committing a robbery or any other Los Angeles criminal offense. You can reach Ann directly at 626-710-4021.