While many people confuse the crimes of robbery and burglary, they are two very separate crimes under the law. In fact, Vista theft lawyer Peter Liss explains that robbery is a form of theft that must involve the threat or use of force, while burglary doesn’t necessarily even need to involve theft, but must involve trespassing on someone else’s property with the intent to steal or commit a felony. In some cases, a person can actually be charged with both crimes.
Defining Robbery in California
In California, a robbery involves taking something that belongs to another person via threat or use of force. Even a minor shoplifting crime can be escalated into a robbery if a security officer attempts to detain you and you struggle with them in an attempt to get away. Even if you don’t get away with the item you were attempting to take, or if you get caught before you leave the property, you could still be charged with robbery. Fortunately, prosecutors must prove that your actions met the conditions of a robbery in order to convict you of the crime.
Proving Robbery Charges
In order for the prosecution to prove that someone committed a robbery, the prosecution must show 1)that you intentionally took an item 2)that rightfully belonged to someone else and 3)that you either threatened or harmed someone in the process. If your Vista robbery attorney can prove that any of these conditions were not met, or even show that the prosecution doesn’t have enough evidence to prove all three, you cannot be rightfully convicted of robbery.
For example, if no violence or threats occurred, the crime is not robbery. Alternatively, if someone broke into another person’s house and threatened them, but the trespasser did not attempt to take anything, it is not a robbery. Another common scenario occurs when someone attempts to take an item from someone else that was the first person’s property to begin with. If you can show that the item you “stole” was actually yours, then you cannot be convicted of robbery.
Robbery is a very serious crime that requires the help of a top Vista theft crimes attorney as it can result in up to five years imprisonment, even more if a weapon was used. If a gun was used during the crime, you could immediately be sent to prison and be subject to an additional ten or twenty years of imprisonment for the crime, or even a life sentence under California’s 10-20-Life law.
It’s worth noting that robbery also counts as a strike under California’s three strikes law, meaning you could end up serving a life sentence if you commit two other felonies and one of them is considered violent or serious -and using a gun in a robbery would qualify.
If you have been accused of any type of theft, particularly one as serious as robbery, please call Vista theft crimes lawyer Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible.
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