Being arrested for any criminal offense can be a frightening experience. If you are arrested for a felony, such as armed robbery, it may heighten the fear factor. If you have been arrested and charged with armed robbery in San Diego California you should consult with an experienced San Diego defense attorney right away. In the meantime, however, it helps to understand exactly what you have been charged with and what the potential penalties are if you are ultimately convicted.
Understanding the offense of armed robbery and the potential penalties and enhancements starts with a definition of robbery. California Penal Code 211 defines robbery as follows:
“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.”
In layman’s terms, the elements of the criminal offense of robbery that the State of California will need to prove in order to convict your break down as follows:
- You took property that was not yours
- You took that property while it was in the possession of, or in the immediate presence of, another person
- You took the property against the other person’s will – they did not agree to you taking it
- You used force or put the person in fear in order to take the property
- You planned to keep the property forever or for a long period of time
If convicted of first degree robbery you could be sentenced to three, six, or nine years in prison. A conviction for second degree robbery carries with it a potential penalty of two, three, or five years in prison.
In California there is not a separate offense for armed robbery; however, that does not mean that you don’t face an additional sentence if you used a weapon in the commission of a robbery. California has a very serious gun law that adds 10, 20, or 25 years to life to your sentence if a firearm was used in the commission of a crime. Ten years is added for “using” a firearm, 20 years is added for firing one, and you will get another 25 years to life is someone is serious injured or killed by the gun you used during a robbery. In addition, if you cause someone “great bodily injury” during the commission of a robbery you may have three to six years added to your sentence.
It is important to understand that enhancements to your crime typically add an additional consecutive sentence, meaning you must complete your sentence for the robber than then do your time for the enhancement.