ROBBERY is the taking of property from a person, or from his immediate presence, against his will, and by means of force or fear. Robbery is broken into two degrees. A robbery of a person performing his duties as an operator of any bus, taxicab, streetcar, or other vehicle, including a vehicle operated on any stationary rails or on a track or rail suspended in the air, and used for the transportation of persons for hire, or of any passengers thereon, is first degree robbery. Also included are robberies perpetrated in an inhabited dwelling house or vessel, and robberies of persons using an automated teller machine. The punishment range for first degree robbery is 2, 4, or 6 years in the state prison. There is a nine year maximum for residential robberies committed by two or more persons. All other robbery is of the second degree, with a sentencing range of 2, 3, or 5 years.
The classic robbery scenario is the gunman with the bandana pulled up to his eyes holding up the bank clerk. The weapon produces fear in the victim and helps accomplish the theft. But weapons are not required to qualify the theft as a robbery. Another scenario might be a shoplifter who gets stopped by store security outside the store and asked to open their bag. If the shoplifter struggles or fights with security to get away, he has committed a robbery.
People v. Eric D. Defendant was arrested and charged with the robbery of a woman at knife-point, late at night, in a parking lot. The general description of the robber fit the defendant. The victim picked defendant out of a line-up prior to trial. Cross examination of the victim at trial revealed too many inconsistencies in the description of the robber compared to the defendant. Jury verdict: Not guilty.
People v. Christopher T. Defendant arrested and charged with robbery and theft resulting from shoplifting at a department store. Defendant was confronted by store security outside the store. While being escorted back inside, defendant struggled and fought to flee. Plea negotiations resulted in an admission to the theft charge and the robbery charge dismissed.