Armed Robbery Charges in California
When a robbery is committed using a weapon — or simply with the display or pretense of a weapon — it will often be charged as an armed robbery. While we often think of guns, a weapon can be almost anything that might cause bodily harm to another. Knives, baseball bats and other similar items are often used in armed robberies.
California courts treat armed robbery as a very serious crime, and there are very serious consequences for those convicted of this offense. An armed robbery conviction will put a felony offense on your record, damage your reputation, and result in a sentence in a California state prison.
How Does California Law Define Robbery?
Robbery occurs anytime someone uses force or instills fear during the process of taking property from another, according to California law. While similar to larceny, robbery requires that the incident happen while in the direct presence of the victim. This is considered a very serious, violent crime.
Robbery without the use of a weapon can be tried either as a first-degree or a second-degree offense. A first-degree robbery conviction may lead to spending up to nine years in prison. A second-degree robbery conviction may lead to a five-year sentence.
Since robbery requires some use of force or intimidation, the use of a weapon is one of the most obvious ways this occurs. When this happens, the offense is termed armed robbery. The penalties for armed robbery are more serious than those of a robbery that is committed without using a weapon.
What are the Penalties for Armed Robbery?
California has a law known as “10-20-Life” that applies to convictions when a gun is used during the commissioning of a violent crime. Also known as the “Use a Gun and You’re Done” law, it adds extra prison time to the sentence of anyone who is convicted of using a gun while committing a robbery.
Under this statute convicted felons who used a firearm or other weapon to cause intimidation and instill fear during a crime may face up to ten years in a California state prison on top of the sentence for their crime. This means that someone who commits first-degree robbery may face 19 years in prison without even firing the gun. If the gun is fired, the enhanced penalties are increased to 20 years in prison. When someone was seriously injured or killed during the commission of a crime, the enhanced sentence can stretch from 25 years to life in prison.
How Can A Lawyer Help?
If you have been charged with armed robbery, it is vital that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Prosecutors often push for more serious charges if any type of force is used during a robbery, theft or while shoplifting. Many of these offenses might have normally be a simple misdemeanor, but can be elevated to the level of felony if they are labeled as armed robbery.
At The Law Offices of Grant Bettencourt, we are familiar with a wide variety of legal defenses in this type of case and can often help clients get the charges against them reduced. In other cases, the charges may be dismissed entirely.
Call (925) 788-7178 to schedule a consultation or go online to complete the consultation form to speak with Grant Bettencourt, an armed robbery attorney expert, and discuss the details of your case today.