Burglary & Robbery
Burglary & Robbery
Robbery and burglary are very serious convictions to have on your rap sheet. A conviction can land you behind bars for a very long time as well as subject your future to a host of consequences. If you’re facing charges for robbery or burglary, time is of the essence, and a great lawyer by your side could mean the difference between freedom and years in prison.
At Saros Law APC, our criminal defense team will work tirelessly to help you get the best possible outcome out of your case.
What is robbery?
According to Penal Code 211, robbery is the crime of using threats or force to take someone’s property against their will. To prove robbery charges in court, prosecutors must show the following:
- That you took property which didn’t belong to you
- That the property was in possession of another
- That the property was in the immediate presence of the owner
- That you took the property against the owner’s will
- That you used force or threatened to use force
- That you intended to deprive the owner of the said property permanently
Robbery is an automatic felony crime that is punishable in two degrees. For a first-degree robbery conviction, you may face up to nine years in prison or pay a maximum of $10,000 in criminal fines, or both. If convicted of a second-degree offense, you face a maximum of five years in prison or up to $10,000 fines.
It is also important to note that robbery is one of California’s charges punishable under the state’s “Three Strikes” law. This means that if you have two prior serious felony convictions and then commit a robbery, you risk facing 25 years or more in state prison. Prosecutors also tend to pursue enhanced sentences where certain aggravating factors are present in the case. For instance, if the robbery caused great bodily injury, you may be sentenced to an additional six years in state prison.
Possible defenses for robbery
- Mistaken identity
- False accusation
- No use of force or fear
- You thought you were within your rights to use the property
Other related offenses to robbery include grand theft, petty theft, receiving stolen property, and burglary.
Robbery vs. Burglary
Burglary is a related offense that can be charged with robbery. Burglary is taking property from another by fear or force, In California Penal Code 459, burglary is the criminal act of entering into a vehicle or building with the intent to commit theft or a felony. Previously, the definition of burglary was mostly limited to residential buildings (which is also called a home invasion), but current laws have since broadened this definition to include non-residential buildings, stores, boats, or shipping containers.
California also divides burglary offenses into two categories; first-degree and second-degree burglary. A first-degree burglary happens if the property is inhabited, even if it is not the victim’s primary or regular residence. First-degree burglary is a felony that is penalized under Penal Code 460 by two, four, or six years in state prison. On the other hand, a second-degree burglary offense doesn’t involve home invasion and is a wobble offense (can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony). A misdemeanor conviction carries up to one year in jail, while a felony second-degree offense can up to three years of incarceration.
California also imposes enhanced sentences for burglary if an offender uses explosives or torches to try and get into a secure place. A defendant charged with burglary involving the use of explosives will likely receive a felony conviction with up to 7 years in prison.
Burglary Home Targets
According to California Penal Code Section 460(a) and 459, burglary of an inhabited property (also first-degree burglary) is a felony offense in California. Legally, an inhabited building could be any structure that is currently being used for dwelling purposes. Some examples of inhabited structures include; houses, apartments, hotel rooms, vessels, floating homes, trailer coaches, or tents. A conviction for a first-degree burglary charge could lead up to 2-6 years in state prison.
Burglary Commercial Targets
When burglary involves all other kinds of buildings or structures except for residential homes, it is charged second-degree burglary. This also includes commercial properties. Second-degree burglary is a wobbler offense under California Penal Code Section 460(b), which can lead up to 16 months, two years, or three years for a felony conviction or a maximum of one year for a misdemeanor conviction.