Armed robbery is the crime of taking property through force or fear while carrying or armed with a weapon, such as a knife or firearm. If you or someone you know is charged with this serious felony under California law, Riverside theft offense Attorney Gregory H. Comings can help. Armed robbery is a violent felony and in addition to potential enhanced sentencing, a conviction may lead to a third “strike” under California Three Strikes law. At The Law Office of Gregory H.Comings, we obtain positive outcomes for clients by focusing on the specific circumstances of their case. A resolution to your case may involve a reduced sentence, or in some cases dismissal of the criminal charges.
Robbery is set forth in California Penal Code 211 PC. All elements of the offense must be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt in order for the prosecution to secure a conviction. This means that the State of California shows, through evidence, that the defendant took the victim’s property against their will through force or fear.
Armed robbery includes the element of using a weapon. The weapon need not be fired or make contact with the victim. In fact, threatening to use the weapon may support charges of armed robbery.
Robbery is a felony crime, not a “wobbler” which may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. California distinguishes between first and second degree robbery. First degree robbery can lead to three, four, or six years imprisonment and a fine reaching $10,000. Second degree robbery may result in up to five years in state prison and a fine. Additionally, first and second-degree robbery is subject to the Three Strikes Law according to California law.
A defendant that personally uses a firearm during a robbery can face an enhancement to their sentence. According to law, sentence enhancements apply when a defendant is accused of using a firearm during the commission of a felony. The use of a weapon during the commission of the crime is set forth under Penal Code section 12022.53, California’s “10-20-Life” gun sentencing enhancement.
For armed robbery, in addition to proving the elements of robbery, the prosecution is required to demonstrate personal use of a firearm. This includes personally displaying the firearm; hitting someone with the firearm; or, personally firing the firearm.
An enhanced sentence is added to the sentence for robbery. The court first imposes a sentence for robbery, then the enhancement runs after the robbery’s sentence has been served. It is important to note that the enhancement can apply even if the gun is not loaded.
If a firearm was used during a robbery, an extra ten years can be added to your sentence. Twenty extra years may be added if the gun discharges during the robbery, and an extra 25-life may result if the gun was fired and causes “great bodily harm” or death during the robbery.
For example, if you are convicted of second-degree robbery and a gun was used, your sentence may increase from five years in prison to 15. Firing your gun increases the sentence to 25 years and if someone was injured and you discharged your gun, you may face 30 years to life imprisonment.
When facing charges for armed robbery, the prosecuting attorney must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts support the elements of the crime. When the evidence does not support all elements, the underlying charge cannot stand. For instance, if you did not use force or fear against a victim, but instead believed that the property was yours to take, there will not be a conviction.
Regarding armed robbery and potential sentence enhancements, you may be able to assert the defense that you did not “use” the gun to commit the robbery and therefore, the sentence enhancement cannot stand. You may face charges for robbery, but the increased penalties will not stand.
Self defense may apply if you used deadly force to reasonably defend yourself against imminent great bodily harm. If a gun was used to defend yourself against attack, it is possible the judge will determine that personal use of the firearm was reasonable.
Attorney Gregory H. Comings works to protect clients throughout Riverside and nearby communities from undeserved punishment. He is prepared to advise you on the next steps you can take to increase chances of success in your case. For a free consultation with a skilled armed robbery lawyer, call our office at (951) 686-3457 or reach us online. We represent people throughout Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Ontario, Redlands, and Temecula.