Robbery is a matter taken very seriously by judges no matter where you go. But, it seems that California judges are particularly hard on robbery defendants. This is considered a violent crime and the state of California uses a heavy hand when dealing with “violent criminals.”

If you are accused of robbery in the state of California, you are likely under a significant amount of stress. Whether you are out on bail or if you know you are under investigation, contacting a criminal attorney should be first on your list of priorities. The stakes are high in a case like this.

California Robbery Laws

Under California law, robbery is defined as:

The felonious taking of the personal property of another from his person or immediate presence and against his will, accomplished by fear or force.

Taking someone’s wallet at gunpoint would constitute robbery, but so would taking their bag from the mall by getting in their face and intimidating them. The number of situations that would qualify under this robbery statute is numerous.

The law requires the victim to be present. If they are not, it is likely a simple theft charge. But it’s precisely their presence that makes this offense particularly serious in the eyes of the law.

California Robbery Penalties

In the California statutes, robbery is separated into two different categories by seriousness. The sentence you face depends on the exact charge, the circumstances of your case, your criminal history, and a variety of other factors.

First Degree Robbery is when the robbery is committed in someone’s home or against a cab driver, bus driver, or driver of another vehicle. If you are convicted of this offense, you face 3,6, or 9 years in prison.

Second Degree Robbery is the charge you will face if your situation does not fit the criteria for first-degree robbery, above. This charge carries up to 2, 3, or 5 years in prison.


Carjacking is a sort of robbery where the thing being taken is someone’s vehicle. Again, the alleged victim must be present for this charge to stick. If you are convicted of carjacking in the state of California, you will face 3, 5, or 9 years in prison.

Robbery and its associated charges are treated as serious violent crimes in California. If convicted you could be spending years in the notorious California prison system. We can put you in touch with an attorney that might be able to help.

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