California robbery law, Penal Code 211, defines the crime of robbery as
- taking personal property that is in the possession of someone else,
- from the victim's person or immediate presence, and
- against the victim's will, through the use of force or fear.1
Obviously, this definition includes the classic image of “stick ‘em up” robberies committed by defendants wearing masks and wielding guns.
But a robbery in California can also be committed in less obvious ways. These include:
- Breaking into a house (committing the California offense of burglary) while the residents are inside, then threatening them with physical harm before stealing some of their personal property;
- Drugging someone, then stealing their possessions while they are unconscious;2 and
- After being caught in the act of stealing something (committing the California crime of grand theft or petty theft), threatening the owner of the property with physical harm in order to escape.
California robbery under Penal Code 211 PC is always a felony in California law. The exact penalty depends on whether you commit robbery of the first degree or of the second degree.3
A California robbery is considered robbery of the first degree if it is a
- robbery of any driver or passenger on a bus, taxi, streetcar, subway, cable car, etc.,
- robbery that takes place in an inhabited structure, or
- robbery of any person who has just used an ATM and is still in the vicinity of the ATM.4
First-degree robbery leads to a California state prison sentence of between three (3) and nine (9) years.5
And second-degree robbery is punishable by two (2), three (3) or five (5) years in state prison.6
Fortunately, there are a variety of legal defenses to robbery charges that a California criminal defense attorney can present on your behalf. These include:
- You didn't use force or fear to take the property;
- You honestly believed that you had a right to the property;
- You are a victim of mistaken identity; and
- You were falsely accused.
In order to help you better understand the crime of robbery in California, our California criminal defense attorneys will address the following:
If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
You may also find helpful information in our related articles on The California Offense of Burglary Penal Code 459 PC; California Grand Theft Law Penal Code 487 PC; California Petty Theft Law Penal Code 484 & 488 PC; Legal Definition of a Felony in California Law; Common Legal Defenses to California Crimes; California Assault Law Penal Code 240 PC; California Theft Crimes; Possession, Sales & Transportation of Methamphetamine Health & Safety Code 11377 11378 & 11379 HS; Felony (Formal) Probation in California; Penal Code 12022.7 California's Great Bodily Injury Enhancement; California's “10-20-Life Use a Gun and You're Done” Law; Definition of a “Violent Felony” in California Law; California's “Three Strikes” Law; The Pretrial Process in California Criminal Law; Circumstantial Evidence in California Criminal Law; Penal Code 215 PC California's Carjacking Law; Legal Definition of a Misdemeanor in California Law; Legal Definition of a Wobbler in California Law; Penal Code 207 PC California's Kidnapping Law; and Extortion in California Penal Code 518 PC.
The legal definition of robbery in California centers around the “elements of the crime.” These are the facts that a prosecutor must prove before you can be guilty of this offense.
The elements of robbery under PC 211 are as follows:
- You took property that was not your own;
- The property was in the possession of another person;
- You took the property from the other person or his/her immediate presence;
- You took the property against that person's will;
- You used fear or force to take the property or prevent the other person from resisting; and
- When you used fear or force to take the property, you intended to deprive the owner of it either permanently or for a long enough time to deprive him/her of a major portion of its value.7
Let's take a closer look at some of the terms in this legal definition.
You “take” someone else's property when you both
- gain possession of it, and
- move it some distance—even a very short distance.8
Example: Kim is walking down the street carrying a knockoff Louis Vuitton handbag. She is confronted by Michelle, who threatens her with physical harm if she doesn't give up the bag. Kim gives her bag to Michelle.
Michelle starts to run off with the bag. But after she has gone half a block she realizes that it is a fake. So she drops it and yells back to Kim, “You can keep your fake bag!”
Michelle is guilty of robbery even though she didn't keep Kim's bag—because by moving it even a small distance, she met the definition of “taking” it under California robbery law.
In the possession of another person
For purposes of California robbery law, “possession” doesn't have to mean that a person is actually holding or touching the property. It is enough if they have control over it or the right to control it (this is known as “constructive possession”).9
Note that the victim does not have to own the property that is stolen—s/he only needs to have actual or constructive possession of it. For example, a store clerk or other employee of a business is considered to have possession of the store's or business's property.10
Example: Rob and his friend Paco come across Mike stealing stereo equipment from Rob's trunk. The confront Mike, and he runs away, carrying the equipment.
Rob and Paco both chase after Mike, but only Paco catches up to him. Mike then pulls a gun on Paco to get him to back down. This allows Mike to escape with the stereo.
Mike is guilty of robbery for pulling a gun on Paco, even though Paco is not the owner of the stereo equipment. Clearly Rob, who did own the property, had granted Paco the authority to help stop the theft. So Paco had constructive possession of the property.11
From the other person or his/her immediate presence
A California robbery only occurs if the defendant takes the property directly from the victim or his/her “immediate presence.”12
Property is considered to be in a person's “immediate presence” if it is within his/her physical control, such that s/he would have been able to keep possession of it if the robbery had not occurred.13
Example: Bill confronts Victor, the manager of a jewelry store, outside of Victor's home, which is several miles away from the store. Bill pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot Victor unless he tells him the combination to a safe at the jewelry store.
Victor tells him the combination, and Bill then calls his friend Andrea, who is at the jewelry store. She uses the combination to open the safe and steal jewelry.
Bill and Andrea did take property from Victor by force or fear. But because they didn't take the property from his immediate presence—instead, they took it from a location far away—they did not actually commit Penal Code 211 robbery. (They are probably guilty of other California offenses, though, like grand theft and California assault.)14
Against the property owner's will
For purposes of California robbery law, you are considered to have taken property against the owner's will if s/he does not consent to you taking it. Consent must be given freely, by someone who understands what they are doing.15
So, for example, if you threaten a person with a gun and they run away—leaving a piece of personal property behind—and you then take their property, you have committed robbery. You took their property without consent, even though they didn't know you were doing so.
Use of force or fear
PC 211 robbery is distinguished from other California theft crimes by the fact that robbery always involves the use of “force or fear.”16
Force, for purposes of robbery law, means physical force. And fear means fear of injury, to either
- the victim him/herself,
- a family member of the victim,
- the victim's property, OR
- someone else present during the incident.17
Example: Corey is walking his poodle Max off-leash in a local park.
Sarah coaxes Max over to her with a treat, then grabs Max and puts a knife to his throat. She tells Corey that she will cut Max if Corey doesn't hand over his wallet.
Even though Sarah didn't actually threaten Corey personally, her threat to Max met the definition of “force or fear”—and so she is guilty of California robbery.
Interestingly, California courts have held that force or fear is used—and a robbery is deemed to have occurred—if the defendant drugs the victim and then takes his/her property.18
Example: Doug meets Christine in a bar, and she invites him back to her house for coffee. Doug then slips a sedative into Christine's coffee. After she passes out, he searches her house for money and valuables and then leaves with these.
Doug is guilty of Penal Code 211 PC robbery, even though his drugging of Christine was an unusual form of “force or fear.”19
However, the slight, harmless touching that occurs when a pickpocket takes something off of someone's person does NOT count as “force or fear.” So a pickpocket would not be guilty of California robbery (but would be guilty of another theft crime).20
Intent to deprive the owner of the property
Finally, you are only guilty of robbery if—at the time the robbery occurred—you intended to deprive the victim of his/her property, either
- permanently, OR
- for a long enough period of time that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of its value or enjoyment.21
Example: Karina is a methamphetamine addict. Desperate for money to pay back a dealer, she goes to her estranged mother's house and confronts her as she is getting home from work. Karina threatens her mother with a knife until her mother hands over a valuable pearl necklace she always wears.
Karina's intent is to take the pearl necklace to a pawn shop to get cash to pay her dealer. Then she intends to save up enough money to get the necklace back from the pawn shop and return it to her mother.
But Karina is still guilty of robbery, because she intends to deprive her mother of the necklace for an extended period of time.
Example : While on a wilderness backpacking trip, Ben gets lost and spends several days trying to find his way back to a trail. His cell phone battery dies, he runs out of food and water, and he is very dirty and slightly delirious.
Finally, Ben runs into another hiker. The hiker is obviously afraid of Ben and refuses to talk to him when Ben begs him for his cell phone so he can call for help. So Ben pulls out his Swiss army knife and threatens to stab the other hiker if he doesn't let him use his phone.
Terrified, the hiker hands over his phone. Ben calls a rescue service and then returns the phone.
This is NOT California robbery, because Ben did not deprive the hiker of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of his phone.
The penalties for Penal Code 211 robbery depend on whether it is classified as so-called “first-degree” or “second-degree” robbery.22
California robbery in the first degree is any robbery where any of the following is true:
- The victim is a driver or passenger of a bus, taxi, cable car, streetcar, trackless trolley, subway, or other similar transportation for hire;
- The robbery takes place in an inhabited house, boat, or trailer; or
- The robbery takes place while or immediately after the victim uses an ATM.23
A house or structure is “inhabited” if someone lives there and either is present, or has left but intends to return.24
First-degree robbery in California is punished as a felony. The potential penalties include:
- Felony (formal) probation ;
- Three (3), four (4) or six (6) years in California state prison; and/or
- A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).25
BUT, if you commit first-degree robbery in an inhabited structure, in concert with two (2) or more other people, then the potential state prison sentence increases to three (3), six (6) or nine (9) years.26
California robbery in the second degree is defined by the California Penal Code as any robbery that does not meet the definition of first-degree robbery.27
Robbery in the second degree is punished by the following felony penalties:
- Felony probation;
- Two (2), three (3) or five (5) years in state prison; and/or
- A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).28
A count of robbery is determined by how many victims there are—NOT how many items of property you take.29
So, for example, if you apply force or fear to two people in order to steal the wallet of one of them, you will be charged with two counts of California robbery.
However, if you steal multiple items of property from one person (for example, a piece of jewelry AND a cell phone), you will only be charged with one count of California robbery.
In addition to the above robbery penalties, there are a variety of sentence enhancements that may apply to a Penal Code 211 robbery conviction. These include:
Penal Code 12022.7 PC California's great bodily injury enhancement
If, while committing a robbery, you cause another person to suffer a “great bodily injury” (defined as a substantial physical injury), then you could be subject to California Penal Code 12022.7, California's great bodily injury enhancement.30
This sentence enhancement can add an additional three (3) to six (6) years to your prison sentence.31
Penal Code 12022.53 “10-20-life use a gun and you're done”
California's “10-20-life use a gun and you're done” law provides for significantly longer sentences for defendants who use a gun in the commission of a robbery.32
Specifically, you will receive an extra
- Ten (10) years for personally using a firearm in a robbery;
- Twenty (20) years for personally and intentionally firing a gun during a robbery; and
- Twenty-five (25) years to life if you cause a person great bodily injury or death with a firearm during a robbery.33
California's three strikes law
This means that, if you have robbery conviction on your record and you are subsequently charged with any California felony, you will face twice the normal sentence for that felony.35
And if you accumulate three “strike” convictions—one or more of which may be a robbery conviction—then you will receive a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.36
Robbery in California carries serious penalties, which can be made much more serious by sentence enhancements and California's draconian “three strikes” law.
Fortunately, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help. There are a variety of common legal defenses that we can use to help get you acquitted—or get your charges reduced or dismissed in the pretrial process.
Just some of these are:
You didn't use force or fear to take the property
According to Riverside criminal defense attorney Michael Scafiddi37:
“The use of ‘force or fear' is probably the key element distinguishing California robbery from other California theft crimes. If the prosecutors can't prove this element, then robbery charges can't stick. The defendant may still be convicted of another California theft crime—but the others usually carry lesser penalties and less stigma than robbery.”
If you took or attempted to take someone's property, they may well have been intimidated enough to hand over the property without you actually taking any specific action to cause force or fear.
In this case, you should not be guilty of California robbery.
You honestly believed that you had a right to the property
If you rob someone—but only do so because you have an honest belief that the property you are taking rightfully belongs to you—then California law excuses the robbery. This is known as the “claim of right” defense.38
The claim of right defense applies even if your belief that you have a right to the property is mistaken or unreasonable.39
However, it does not apply to robberies that are committed to settle debts.40
Example: Hal goes to the house of his wife, from whom he is in the process of getting divorced. He gives her $200 to pay some bills.
Then Hal's mother-in-law arrives and starts an argument. Hal realizes that his wife plans to give the $200 to his mother-in-law, whom he can't stand. He asks for the money back, but his wife puts it in her bra.
Hal then wrestles his wife to the ground and gets the money out of her bra.
Hal may not be guilty of California robbery even though he used force to take money from his wife. This is because he believed that he had a right to take the money back from her.41
You are a victim of mistaken identity
Robbery defendants are often charged after the victim identifies them in a lineup—a process that leads to many mistakes and false accusations.
And in many other robbery cases, the perpetrator was wearing a mask or other disguise—which means that a defendant is identified based on clothes, height/weight, or other flimsy pieces of evidence.
An experienced defense lawyer knows how to evaluate the prosecution's case to see if it is based mostly on less-reliable circumstantial evidence. S/he can point out the holes in their evidence and remind the jury that they may not convict unless they are 100% certain they have the right man (or woman).
You were falsely accused
False accusations are responsible for all too many robbery—and other criminal—charges in California.
Someone might falsely accuse you of robbery for any number of reasons. Maybe the actual perpetrator is trying to cover up his own guilt. Maybe an angry or jealous ex-spouse is trying to gain control over you.
This is another situation where a robbery defense lawyer will need to conduct a thorough investigation into the facts of what actually occurred.
Penal Code 211 PC robbery shares elements with, and/or is frequently charged in connection with, certain other California theft crimes and other crimes. These include:
Penal Code 215 PC, California's carjacking law , makes it a crime to take someone else's car from their immediate presence, by means of force or fear.42
So, basically, California carjacking is identical to California robbery—except that the stolen property is always a car.
You may be charged with both California carjacking and PC 211 robbery. However, you may only be convicted of one or the other.43
Carjacking is a felony punishable by three (3), five (5) or nine (9) years in state prison.44
If you take someone else's property unlawfully—without the use of force or fear—you could be convicted of either
- Penal Code 487 grand theft, or
- Penal Code 488 petty theft.45
Grand theft is charged when the property taken is worth more than nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), is a car or a firearm, or is taken directly off of the victim's person. All other cases are petty theft.46
So, for example, grand theft or petty theft will be charged in cases involving pickpocketing or shoplifting.
Petty theft is a misdemeanor in California law, carrying a maximum county jail sentence of six (6) months.47
And grand theft is a wobbler, which means that it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, at the prosecutor's discretion. Even when it is charged as a felony, the potential jail sentence is only sixteen (16) months, two (2) or three (3) years—less than the potential sentence for robbery.48
Because of this, California robbery defendants often try to get their charges reduced to grand or petty theft.
Penal Code 207 PC, California's kidnapping law , punishes the use of force or fear to move another person a substantial distance.49
If you are accused of robbery in which you moved the robbery victim any substantial distance—say, forcing him or her into a car and then driving to a remote location to take his/her belongings—then you may be charged with both robbery and kidnapping.
Kidnapping for the purpose of committing a robbery is a very serious crime in California. A kidnapping for the purpose of committing robbery—where the victim is moved a distance that is not just incidental to the commitment of the robbery—may be punished by a life sentence in prison (with the possibility of parole).50
Even ordinary kidnapping is punishable by three (3), five (5) or eight (8) years in state prison.51
The crime of extortion in California, Penal Code 518 PC, occurs when someone uses force or threats to compel another person to give them money or other property.52
The difference between PC 211 robbery and PC 518 extortion is that, in a robbery, the victim does not consent to giving up his money or property. In extortion, though, the victim does consent, as a result of the defendant's use of force or threats.53
Also, the definition of “force or fear” is different for extortion than for robbery. For extortion, it includes not just threats to injure a person or their property—but also threats to
- accuse someone of a crime,
- expose a secret, or
- report someone's immigration status.54
Extortion is a felony, punishable by two (2), three (3) or four (4) years in prison.55
Finally, Penal Code 459 PC burglary makes it a crime to enter a room, building, or locked vehicle, with the intent to commit a felony (such as a robbery) once inside.56
Burglary and robbery are commonly charged together—because any robbery that takes place inside a home or building (for example, a home invasion robbery) also subjects the defendant to burglary charges.
Burglary is a felony if it is committed in a private home and a wobbler if it is committed in any other structure.57 The potential felony prison sentence is two (2), four (4) or six (6) years.58
Call us for help…
For questions about PC 211 robbery, or to discuss your case confidentially with one of our California criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
We have local criminal law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.
For more information on Nevada robbery laws, please see our page on Nevada robbery laws.
1 Penal Code 211 PC – Definition [of robbery]. (“Robbery is 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.”)
2 See People v. Dreas (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 623.
3 Penal Code 213 PC – Robbery; punishment. (“(1) Robbery of the first degree is punishable as follows: (A) If the defendant, voluntarily acting in concert with two or more other persons, commits the robbery within an inhabited dwelling house, a vessel as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, which is inhabited and designed for habitation, an inhabited floating home as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, a trailer coach as defined in the Vehicle Code, which is inhabited, or the inhabited portion of any other building, by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or nine years. (B) In all cases other than that specified in subparagraph (A), by imprisonment in the state prison for three, four, or six years. (2) Robbery of the second degree is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years. (b) Notwithstanding Section 664, attempted robbery in violation of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison.”)
4 Penal Code 212.5 – Robbery; degrees. (“(a) Every robbery of any person who is performing his or her duties as an operator of any bus, taxicab, cable car, streetcar, trackless trolley, or other vehicle, including a vehicle operated on stationary rails or on a track or rail suspended in the air, and used for the transportation of persons for hire, every robbery of any passenger which is perpetrated on any of these vehicles, and every robbery which is perpetrated in an inhabited dwelling house, a vessel as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code which is inhabited and designed for habitation, an inhabited floating home as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, a trailer coach as defined in the Vehicle Code which is inhabited, or the inhabited portion of any other building is robbery of the first degree. (b) Every robbery of any person while using an automated teller machine or immediately after the person has used an automated teller machine and is in the vicinity of the automated teller machine is robbery of the first degree. (c) All kinds of robbery other than those listed in subdivisions (a) and (b) are of the second degree.”)
5 Penal Code 213 PC – Robbery; punishment, endnote 3, above.
6 See same.
7 Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (“CALCRIM”) 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211). (“The defendant is charged [in Count ] with robbery [in violation of Penal Code section 211]. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant took property that was not (his/her) own; 2 The property was in the possession of another person; 3 The property was taken from the other person or (his/her) immediate presence; 4 The property was taken against that person's will; 5 The defendant used force or fear to take the property or to prevent the person from resisting; AND 6 When the defendant used force or fear to take the property, (he/she) intended (to deprive the owner of it permanently/ [or] to remove it from the owner's possession for so extended a period of time that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property).”)
8 CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211). (“[A person takes something when he or she gains possession of it and moves it some distance. The distance moved may be short.]”)
9 CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211). (“[A person does not have to actually hold or touch something to possess it. It is enough if the person has (control over it/ [or] the right to control it), either personally or through another person.] [A (store/ [or] business) (employee/ <insert description>) who is on duty has possession of the (store/ [or] business) owner's property.]”)
10 See same.
11 Based on the facts of People v. Bekele (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 1457 (disapproved on other grounds by People v. Rodriguez (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1).
12 CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211), endnote 7, above.
13 CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211). (“[Property is within a person's immediate presence if it is sufficiently within his or her physical control that he or she could keep possession of it if not prevented by force or fear.]”)
14 People v. Hayes (1990) 52 Cal.3d 577, 627. (“A taking can be accomplished by force or fear and yet not be from the victim's immediate presence. For example, a person might enter the victim's home and there, by the use of force or fear, compel the victim to reveal the combination of a safe located many miles away in the victim's office. The culprit at the victim's house could then relay the combination to a confederate waiting in or near the office, who could use it to open the safe and take its contents before the victim could reach the office or otherwise interfere with the taking. In such a case, the criminals would have accomplished the taking by force or fear and yet not have taken property from the person or immediate presence of the victim. The perpetrators of the taking would be guilty of several offenses-conspiracy, burglary, assault, and grand theft at the least-but they would not be guilty of robbery as defined in section 211because the taking would not be from an area over which the victim, at the time force or fear was employed, could be said to exercise some physical control.”)
15 CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211). (“[An act is done against a person's will if that person does not consent to the act. In order to consent, a person must act freely and voluntarily and know the nature of the act.]”)
16 CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211), endnote 7, above.
17 Penal Code 212 PC – Fear defined. (“The fear mentioned in Section 211 [California's robbery law] may be either: 1. The fear of an unlawful injury to the person or property of the person robbed, or of any relative of his or member of his family; or, 2. The fear of an immediate and unlawful injury to the person or property of anyone in the company of the person robbed at the time of the robbery.”)
See also CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211). (“[Fear, as used here, means fear of (injury to the person himself or herself[,]/ [or] injury to the person's family or property[,]/ [or] immediate injury to someone else present during the incident or to that person's property).]”)
18 People v. Dreas (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 623, 627. (“As stated above, appellant was found guilty of three counts of robbery. These convictions were predicated on evidence showing that in each instance appellant used Lorazepam, a tranquilizer, dissolved in hot coffee in order to drug his victims. The drug rendered the victims unconscious, overcoming their resistance to the taking of various items of personal property from their homes or persons. Appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the robbery convictions because the use of drugs does not constitute "means of force or fear" within the meaning of [Penal Code] section 211 [California's robbery law]. We disagree.”)
19 Based on the facts of the same.
20 CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211), Related Issues: Force – Amount. (“The force required for robbery must be more than the incidental touching necessary to take the property. (People v. Garcia (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 1242, 1246 [53 Cal.Rptr.2d 256][noting that the force employed by a pickpocket would be insufficient], disapproved on other grounds in People v. Mosby (2004) 33 Cal.4th 353, 365, fns. 2, 3 [15 Cal.Rptr.3d 262, 92 P.3d 841].)”)
21 CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211), endnote 7, above.
22 Penal Code 213 PC – Robbery; punishment, endnote 3, above.
23 Penal Code 212.5 – Robbery; degrees, endnote 4, above.
See also CALCRIM 1602 – Robbery: Degrees (Pen. Code, § 212.5). (“To prove that the defendant is guilty of first degree robbery, the People must prove that: [The robbery was committed in an inhabited (dwelling/vessel/floating home/trailer coach/part of a building). A (dwelling/vessel/floating home/trailer coach/part of a building) is inhabited if someone lives there and either is present or has left but intends to return.] [The robbery was committed while the person robbed was using or had just used an ATM machine and was still near the machine.] [The robbery was committed while the person robbed was performing (his/her) duties as the driver of or was a passenger on (a/an) (bus/taxi/cable car/streetcar/trackless trolley/ <other kind of vehicle used to transport people.>.]”)
24 See same.
25 Penal Code 213 PC – Robbery; punishment, endnote 3, above.
See also Penal Code 672 PC – Fines not otherwise prescribed. (“ Upon a conviction for any crime punishable by imprisonment in any jail or prison, in relation to which no fine is herein prescribed, the court may impose a fine on the offender not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) in cases of misdemeanors or ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in cases of felonies, in addition to the imprisonment prescribed.”)
26 Penal Code 213 PC – Robbery; punishment, endnote 3, above.
27 Penal Code 212.5 – Robbery; degrees, endnote 4, above.
28 Penal Code 213 PC – Robbery; punishment, endnote 3, above.
See also Penal Code 672 PC – Fines not otherwise prescribed, endnote 25, above.
29 People v. Ramos (1982) 30 Cal.3d 553, 589 (overruled on other grounds). (“We view the central element of the crime of robbery as the force or fear applied to the individual victim in order to deprive him of his property. Accordingly, if force or fear is applied to two victims in joint possession of property, two convictions of robbery are proper.”)
30 Penal Code 12022.7 PC -- Terms of imprisonment for persons inflicting great bodily injury while committing or attempting felony [including a California robbery]. ("a) Any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for three years. (b) Any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice in the commission of a felony or attempted felony which causes the victim to become comatose due to brain injury or to suffer paralysis of a permanent nature, shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for five years. As used in this subdivision, "paralysis" means a major or complete loss of motor function resulting from injury to the nervous system or to a muscular mechanism. (c) Any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury on a person who is 70 years of age or older, other than an accomplice, in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for five years. (d) Any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury on a child under the age of five years in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for four, five, or six years. (e) Any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury under circumstances involving domestic violence in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for three, four, or five years. As used in this subdivision, "domestic violence" has the meaning provided in subdivision (b) of [California Penal Code] Section 13700. (f) As used in this section "great bodily injury" means a significant or substantial physical injury.")
31 See same.
32 Penal Code 12022.53 PC – California's 10-20-life "use a gun and you're done" law. ("(a) This section applies to the following felonies: . . . (4) Section 211 (robbery). . . . (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who, in the commission of a felony specified in subdivision (a), personally uses a firearm, shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for 10 years. The firearm need not be operable or loaded for this enhancement to apply. (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who, in the commission of a felony specified in subdivision (a), personally and intentionally discharges a firearm, shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for 20 years. (d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who, in the commission of a felony specified in subdivision (a), Section 246, or subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 26100, personally and intentionally discharges a firearm and proximately causes great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7, or death, to any person other than an accomplice, shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for 25 years to life.”)
33 See same.
34 Penal Code 667.5 PC – Violent felonies. ("(c) For the purpose of this section, "violent felony" shall mean any of the following: . . . (9) Any [Penal Code 211 PC California] robbery . . . .")
35 Penal Code 667(e)(1) PC - Three strikes law. ("(e) For purposes of subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, and in addition to any other enhancement or punishment provisions which may apply, the following shall apply where a defendant has one or more prior serious and/or violent felony conviction [including robbery]: (1) If a defendant has one prior serious and/or violent felony conviction as defined in subdivision (d) that has been pled and proved, the determinate term or minimum term for an indeterminate term shall be twice the term otherwise provided as punishment for the current felony conviction. (2)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), if a defendant has two or more prior serious and/or violent felony convictions [including robbery] as defined in subdivision (d) that have been pled and proved, the term for the current felony conviction shall be an indeterminate term of life imprisonment with a minimum term of the indeterminate sentence calculated as the greatest of: (i) Three times the term otherwise provided as punishment for each current felony conviction subsequent to the two or more prior serious and/or violent felony convictions. (ii) Imprisonment in the state prison for 25 years. (iii) The term determined by the court pursuant to Section 1170 for the underlying conviction, including any enhancement applicable under Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 1170) of Title 7 of Part 2, or any period prescribed by Section 190 or 3046.)”)
36 See same.
37 Riverside criminal defense attorney Michael Scaffidi is a former law enforcement officer. He now uses that inside knowledge to help defend clients accused of California theft crimes, including robbery, as well as other criminal charges in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Scafiddi routinely makes appearances at the Murrieta Southwest Justice Center and in Fontana, Banning, Barstow, Palm Springs, and Joshua Tree.
38 CALCRIM 1600 – Robbery (Pen. Code, § 211), Related Issues: Claim of Right. (“If a person honestly believes that he or she has a right to the property even if that belief is mistaken or unreasonable, such belief is a defense to robbery. (People v. Butler (1967) 65 Cal.2d 569, 573 [55 Cal.Rptr. 511, 421 P.2d 703]; People v. Romo (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 514, 518 [269 Cal.Rptr. 440] [discussing defense in context of theft]; see CALCRIM No. 1863, Defense to Theft or Robbery: Claim of Right.) This defense is only available for robberies when a specific piece of property is reclaimed; it is not a defense to robberies perpetrated to settle a debt, liquidated or unliquidated. (People v. Tufunga (1999) 21 Cal.4th 935, 945–950 [90 Cal.Rptr.2d 143, 987 P.2d 168].)”)
39 See same.
40 See same.
41 Based on the facts of People v. Tufunga (1999) 221 Cal.4th 935.
42 Penal Code 215 PC – Carjacking; punishment [compare to California robbery law]. (“(a) “Carjacking” is the felonious taking of a motor vehicle in the possession of another, from his or her person or immediate presence, or from the person or immediate presence of a passenger of the motor vehicle, against his or her will and with the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person in possession of the motor vehicle of his or her possession, accomplished by means of force or fear. (b) Carjacking is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of three, five, or nine years. (c) This section shall not be construed to supersede or affect Section 211 [California's robbery law]. A person may be charged with a violation of this section and Section 211. However, no defendant may be punished under this section and Section 211 for the same act which constitutes a violation of both this section and Section 211.”)
43 See same.
44 See same.
45 Penal Code 487 PC – Grand theft defined [compare to definition of PC 211 robbery]. (“Grand theft is theft committed in any of the following cases: (a) When the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), except as provided in subdivision (b). (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), grand theft is committed in any of the following cases: . . . (c) When the property is taken from the person of another. (d) When the property taken is any of the following: (1) An automobile, horse, mare, gelding, any bovine animal, any caprine animal, mule, jack, jenny, sheep, lamb, hog, sow, boar, gilt, barrow, or pig. (2) A firearm.”)
See also Penal Code 488 PC – Petty theft defined [compare to definition of Penal Code 211 robbery]. (“Theft in other cases is petty theft.”)
46 See same.
47 Penal Code 490 PC – Petty theft; punishment [contrast with robbery penalties]. (“Petty theft is punishable by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or both.”)
48 Penal Code 489 PC – Grand theft; punishment [contrast with robbery penalties]. (“Grand theft is punishable as follows: (a) When the grand theft involves the theft of a firearm, by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two, or three years. (b) In all other cases, by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”)
49 Penal Code 207 PC – California's kidnapping law [compare to legal definition of California robbery]. (“(a) Every person who forcibly, or by any other means of instilling fear, steals or takes, or holds, detains, or arrests any person in this state, and carries the person into another country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county, is guilty of kidnapping.”)
50 Penal Code 209 PC – Kidnapping to commit robbery; punishment. (“(b)(1) Any person who kidnaps or carries away any individual to commit robbery [under Penal Code 211 PC California's robbery law], . . . shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole. (2) This subdivision shall only apply if the movement of the victim is beyond that merely incidental to the commission of, and increases the risk of harm to the victim over and above that necessarily present in, the intended underlying offense.”)
51 Penal Code 208 PC -- Punishment for kidnapping [compare to punishment for California robbery]. ("(a) Kidnapping is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or eight years.”)
52 Penal Code 518 PC – Extortion [compare with legal definition of robbery]. (“Extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right.”)
53 See same.
54 Penal Code 519 PC – Definition of fear for purposes of extortion law [compare to definition of force or fear in California robbery law]. (“Fear, such as will constitute extortion, may be induced by a threat, either: 1. To do an unlawful injury to the person or property of the individual threatened or of a third person; or, 2. To accuse the individual threatened, or a relative of his or her, or member of his or her family, of a crime; or, 3. To expose, or to impute to him, her, or them a deformity, disgrace, or crime; or, 4. To expose a secret affecting him, her, or them; or, 5. To report his, her, or their immigration status or suspected immigration status.”)
55 Penal Code 520 PC – Extortion; punishment [compare to robbery punishment]. (“Every person who extorts any money or other property from another, under circumstances not amounting to robbery or carjacking, by means of force, or any threat, such as is mentioned in Section 519, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for two, three or four years.”)
56 Penal Code 459 PC – California's burglary law [may be charged along with Penal Code 211 PC robbery]. (“Every person who enters any house, room, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store…with intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony is guilty of burglary.”)
57 Penal Code 461 PC – Punishment [for burglary—may be in addition to penalties for robbery]. (“Burglary is punishable as follows: (a) Burglary in the first degree: by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or six years. (b) Burglary in the second degree: by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”)
58 See same.