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How is robbery classified and punished in California?


California penal code classifies robbery as a serious felony offense. A robbery conviction can attract heavy fines and possible jail time, especially when weapons are involved.

A conviction for this crime will always remain on your record even after paying the price for your crime. This is why you must know what constitutes robbery so that you don’t unnecessarily expose yourself to legal liability or can build a defense strategy in your case if you do.

What is robbery?

Legally speaking, robbery refers to taking to someone else’s property forcefully or through intimidation against their will. While this may give the impression of weapon-touting robbers, the law also considers taking someone’s money or property as robbery under the following circumstances:

  • When the victim is drugged unconscious before their property is taken away
  • When the victim is threatened with violence if they report the offense
  • When the offender breaks into a property and threatens the occupants before robbing them

Not all robbery offenses are penalized the same, though.

What are the penalties for robbery?

Robbery penalties differ depending on what you have been charged with. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, you will either be charged with first or second-degree robbery.

You will be charged with first-degree robbery if the following are established:

  • The victim was a driver or passenger of a bus, a cable car or other means of transportation
  • The robbery occurred in an inhabited property
  • The robbery happened immediately after the victim finished using an ATM

First-degree robbery will attract the following penalties in California:

  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • A 3, 4 or 6-year jail term

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be sentenced to probation instead of jail time. However, if you had accomplices while committing the crime, then you might serve up to nine years in prison.

You may face second-degree robbery charges if the circumstances of your case do not meet the first-degree ones. If convicted, you will be liable for a fine of up to $10,000, up to five years imprisonment or probation.

Robbery is a serious offense with life-altering consequences. Whether you actually did it or are being accused falsely, it is important that know how to safeguard your rights and defend yourself against robbery charges.

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