Are you facing criminal charges for robbery in San Diego? If you want to protect your future it will be important to assert a solid defense. Hiring an experienced robbery defense attorney to handle your case will increase the odds of securing a positive outcome. Call San Diego criminal defense attorney Vikas Bajaj to learn about how he can help to minimize the consequences of your arrest.
Attorney Vikas Bajaj has spent the past 19 years dedicating his practice to defending clients against a variety of criminal charges in San Diego. He understands that this may be a very overwhelming and stressful time for you. He will fight to make sure that your rights are protected and that you are given every opportunity to defend yourself. His aggressive approach makes it difficult for the state to build strong cases against his clients. As a result, he is often able to get the charges against his clients reduced or dismissed. Call the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC today to request a free consultation.
Robbery in California
If you take something directly from another person using force or intimidation you could face criminal charges for robbery in California. California Penal Code 211 PC defines the crime of robbery 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 different from other crimes of theft because it requires you to:
- Take property directly from another person (or their immediate presence), and
- Use force or fear to commit the act.
Elements of a Robbery
The state must be able to establish and prove each of the following elements of the crime in order to get a conviction:
- You took property that did not belong to you while in the possession of another person.
- This property was taken directly from the person or his immediate presence.
- The property was taken against the other person’s will.
- You used force or fear to take the property.
- You intended to deprive the owner of his property permanently or for an extended period of time.
Taking Property From a Person or Their Immediate Presence
One of the requirements of robbery is that property is taken directly from a person or from his immediate presence. You will be considered to have taken property directly from another person when they are physically holding or occupying the property. For example, if you were to take a wallet from a person’s pocket or take the watch off of a person’s wrist, that behavior would be considered taking property directly from that person.
When is property considered to be in a person’s immediate presence? Under California law, property will be considered to be in a person’s immediate presence when 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.” Whether or not property is in a person’s immediate presence is a question of fact, and the answer will vary from case to case. Generally speaking, as long as the victim would have the ability to immediately control the property (if not for intimidation), it will be considered in their immediate presence.
Use of Force or Fear
Robbery requires the use of force or fear to commit a theft. Fear can include situations where a victim is afraid for their safety, the safety of a loved one, and/or the safety of anyone who may be in close proximity to the robbery. It is important to understand that you can only be convicted of a robbery if you apply force or make a victim fearful because you intend to take their property. If you use force or make a victim fearful, and then decide to steal property, you cannot be convicted of a robbery. Instead, you would likely face charges for theft.
Penalties for Robbery in California
In California, the crime of robbery is classified as either first degree robbery or second degree robbery. The classification depends on where the robbery is committed and who the target victim is.
First Degree Robbery
First degree robbery includes any robberies committed under the following circumstances:
- Robbery committed in an inhabited dwelling.
- Robbery committed while a person is using or had just finished using an ATM.
- Robbery committed against a driver of a vehicle for hire or public transportation.
First degree robbery is a felony offense in California. A first degree robbery conviction is punishable by three, six, or nine years in a California state prison and $10,000 in criminal fines.
Second Degree Robbery
All other types of robbery are classified as second-degree robbery. Second degree robbery is also a felony offense in California. If you are convicted of second degree robbery you will face a criminal sentence including two, three, or five years in a California state prison and $10,000 in criminal fines.
Robbery counts as a strike for the purposes of California’s three strikes sentencing law and is a qualifying felony for the purposes of the state’s 10-20-Life gun enhancement sentencing law. As a result, all penalties will be aggravated if you use or discharge a weapon, injure your victim(s), have multiple victims, and/or have prior robbery convictions.
Defenses for Robbery Charges
If you have been charged with robbery in San Diego it will be important to present a strong defense. The arguments you assert in your defense should help to explain and/or justify your alleged behavior. Defenses that may be helpful in your San Diego robbery case include:
- Lack of intent
- No force or fear was used
- The decision to steal property was developed after force was used
- You are the rightful owner of the property
- Mistaken identity, and
- False accusation.
If evidence against you is discovered as a result of a violation of your rights, the state should not be rewarded for their misconduct. When the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC learn that the state is in possession of tainted evidence, we will immediately file a motion to suppress. When the state does not have evidence to support its case, prosecutors will be more likely to discuss a plea or dismiss the charges.
Experienced San Diego Robbery Attorneys
Have you been arrested in connection with a robbery in San Diego? If so, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC for immediate legal assistance. Robbery is a very serious felony offense, and a conviction will change the course of your life forever. You have the right to fight the charges against you, and our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help. Call us today to request a free consultation and learn more. We will review your case, explain your rights as a defendant, and answer your questions. Early intervention is essential to a positive outcome, so do not hesitate to call us today.