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First-Degree Robbery

Penal Code 212.5 PC - First-Degree Robbery in California

Penal Code 212.5 PC first-degree robbery is the most severe form of robbery. It carries harsh penalties if convicted, including up to nine years in state prison.

Penal Code 212.5 PC - First-Degree Robbery in California

Like other crimes, such as burglary, California recognizes the crime of robbery by degrees of severity. For example, a first-degree robbery occurs when a victim is any of the following:

  • driver or passenger of a bus, taxi, or subway;
  • transportation for hire; OR
  • robbery in an inhabited structure;
  • robbery at an automated teller machine (ATM).

PC 212.5 says, “(a) Every robbery of any person who is performing their duties as an operator of any bus, taxicab, cable car, streetcar, trackless trolley, or other vehicles…… and used for the transportation of persons for hire, every robbery of any passenger which is perpetrated on any of these vehicles, and every robbery which is perpetrated in an inhabited dwelling house, a vessel… a trailer coach as defined in the Vehicle Code which is inhabited, or the inhabited portion of any other building is robbery of the first degree.

(b) Every robbery of any person while using an automated teller machine or immediately after the person has used an automated teller machine and is in the vicinity of the automated teller machine is robbery of the first degree.

(c) All kinds of robbery other than those listed in subdivisions (a) and (b) are of the second degree.”

California Penal Code 211 PC describes robbery as the taking of personal property in somebody's possession from their immediate presence and by use of force or fear.  

Suppose a type of robbery does not fall under the category of a PC 212.5 first-degree robbery. In that case, it would be filed as a second-degree robbery. Let's review this state law in more detail below.

What Does the Law Say?

As noted, the crime of Penal Code 211 as “Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”

Thus, the primary elements of the crime of robbery include the following:

  • You physically took someone's property while they were present, and
  • You used force or fear, such as making threats of harm.

By definition, PC 212.5 first-degree robbery occurs when certain circumstances exist, such as any of the following:

  • The victim is the driver or passenger of public transportation or transportation for hire, such as a bus, taxi, streetcar, uber, etc.;
  • The robbery occurs within an inhabited dwelling, such as someone's home, apartment, or trailer home; OR
  • The robbery occurs during or immediately after someone uses an automated teller machine (ATM).

What Are the Related Crimes?

Several California laws are related to Penal Code 212.5 PC first-degree robbery, including the following:

What Are the Penalties for PC 212.5?

California first-degree robbery is a felony and a violent crime under the "three-strike law." Suppose you are convicted of violating this law. In that case, the penalties will vary based on the case details and potential sentencing enhancements, such as the following:

  • First-degree robbery carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison;
  • Robbery of an inhabited structure carries up to nine years;
  • Acting in concert with two or more people also carries nine years;
  • Robbery causing a "great bodily injury" qualifies for a Penal Code 12022.7 PC sentencing enhancement, which adds six years to your sentence.
  • If the robbery is considered a "third strike," the penalty will increase to 25 years to life in prison.

What Are the Defenses for PC 212.5?

Suppose you were accused of Penal Code 212.5 PC first-degree robbery. In that case, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers could use different strategies to obtain the best possible outcome, as discussed below.

Defenses for First-Degree Robbery in California

Maybe we can argue that you didn't use force or fear. Recall that it must be proven that you used force or fear to commit robbery to be convicted,

Maybe the alleged victim gave you the property without coercion, or there is insufficient evidence to prove this element of the crime.

Maybe we can argue that the structure was uninhabited, or you were unaware it was an inhabited home. Maybe we get the charge reduced to a second-degree robbery.

Maybe we argue that you are the victim of mistaken identity. Perhaps the true robber was wearing a disguise, such as a mask. Maybe the accuser just made an honest mistake in their identification. Maybe the allegations are false, and we can show you have an alibi.

Maybe we can negotiate with the prosecutor to persuade them not to file formal criminal charges in the first place (DA reject). You can contact us for a case consultation by phone or fill out the contact form. Cron, Israels & Stark is located in Los Angeles, California.

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