California Penal Code 211 P.C.

Robbery is theft of property or money from an individual’s person through the use of force or threat of force.

What is a Robbery Charge?

Under California Penal Code 211 P.C., you can be charged with Robbery if you allegedly took personal property in the possession of another, from his/her person or immediate presence, and against his/her will, by means of force or fear. Robbery is a specific intent crime, which means you intended to steal the money or property through force or threat of force.

Robbery is always charged as a felony and cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor. It is charged and punishable as either first-degree Robbery or second-degree Robbery. First-degree robbery constitutes robbery of a person driving a vehicle, using an ATM, or in their own home. All other forms of robbery are considered second-degree robbery.

What are Examples of Robbery?

Examples of Robbery situations include the following:

  • You snuck into a residence through an open garage door, then you pulled a gun on the occupants and forced them to give you their cash and jewelry.
  • You applied a rear-naked chokehold on someone, thereby rendering them unconscious, then took a Rolex off the person’s wrist and left the scene.
  • After getting stopped for shoplifting, you threatened to shoot the security guard, thereby forcing him to let you escape.

What Does the Prosecutor Need to Prove for a Robbery Charge?

To prove that you are guilty of Robbery under California Penal Code 211 P.C., the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements (as required by the Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions CALCRIM 1600):

  • You took someone else’s property;
  • That property was in the possession of another person;
  • You took the property from the other person in that person’s immediate presence;
  • You took the property against the other person’s will;
  • You used force or the threat of force to take the property or to prevent the other person from resisting; and
  • When used force or fear, you intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property or to remove the property from the owner for an extended period of time to such a degree that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property.

What Happens If I am Convicted of a Robbery Charge?

In addition to the punishment discussed below, there are sentencing enhancements for the use of a firearm during a robbery, if you previously served time in prison, if you were previously convicted of a strike, or if you are an associate or member of a criminal organization. Robbery is a strike offense (violent felony) in California, which means, among other things, that you will have to serve at least 85% of your sentence, even with good behavior.

If you are convicted of Robbery under California Penal Code 211 P.C., you face the following punishment (excluding any sentencing enhancements):

  • Three, four, six or nine years in prison (if you are convicted of first-degree Robbery – see California Penal Code 213 P.C.); or
  • Two, three or five years in prison (if you are convicted of second-degree Robbery – see California Penal Code 213 P.C.); and
  • Probation of three or five years;
  • Permanent ban from possessing or owning a firearm; and
  • Possible loss of ability to obtain or maintain a professional license, loss of employment or educational opportunities, or adverse immigration consequences (if applicable).

What are My Possible Defenses to a Robbery Charge?

The following are the possible defenses to a Robbery charge:

  • “Claim of right”. You reasonably believed that the property allegedly taken was yours.
  • Lack of theft or movement of the property. You did not take or move the property at all.
  • Lack of theft or movement of the property in the owner’s presence. You did not take or move the property at all or in the presence of the alleged victim.
  • Lack of theft or movement of the property against the owner’s will. You did not take the property against the alleged victim’s will.
  • Lack of force. You did not use force or threaten force to obtain the property.
  • Lack of intent. At the time of the incident, you did not have the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property, or you did not actually intend to take the property after using force or the threat of force. Alternatively, you only formulated the intent to take the property after you used force or threatened force.
  • Lack of fear. The alleged victim was not actually placed in reasonable fear for his or her safety. For example, he or she believed you were merely playing a practical joke.
  • False accusations. The alleged victim or supposed eyewitness may have ulterior motives for lying to the police. Some of the most common motives include child custody disputes and romantic strife with current or former lovers.
  • Misidentification by the accuser or witness. For example, your act was misunderstood or misinterpreted, or you were not the actual person who committed the alleged robbery. Eyewitness identification can be affected by many different factors, including bad lighting, witness stress, cross-racial identification, suggestions by the police, etc.
  • Constitutional defenses. These include lack of probable cause, police misconduct (coerced confession, planted evidence, falsified police report, racial profiling, etc.), Miranda violations (suppressing any statements you made to the police if your Miranda rights were violated), and suppression of evidence that was seized without reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or a valid warrant (in violation of the Fourth Amendment).
  • Insufficient evidence. The prosecutor failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of one or more charges.
  • The accuser and/or witnesses are not credible. In other words, for any host of reasons, the jury simple does not believe what the accuser and/or witnesses are claiming about your criminal culpability.

What Kind of Robbery Cases Has Ninaz Saffari Defended?

Since 2005, Ninaz Saffari has successfully represented hundreds of clients against Robbery charges, including Robbery as a second strike, Robbery with a previous Robbery conviction, Robbery while client is on parole, etc., with clients who were facing as much as two or more decades in prison. See her Case Results.


If you or a loved one are currently being investigated or prosecuted for this crime, it is critical that you immediately hire a highly skilled, aggressive and experienced Los Angeles County Robbery criminal defense attorney like Ninaz Saffari. Contact the Saffari Law Firm, P.C. now for a free telephone consultation. If Ms. Saffari believes she can help you, she will immediately schedule a free in-person meeting or, if you are in custody, she will visit you in jail (again, for free and with no obligation to hire her).


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