California Robbery Attorney – Penal Code 211 PC

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Do You Need a Robbery Attorney in California?

Robbery is a serious crime in California. If you are convicted of robbery in California, you can be sentenced to up to 6 years in state prison and face hefty fines. If you are being charged with this crime in California, you need to speak with a skilled robbery attorney right away.

The robbery lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending our clients charged with this crime. Call us today at (877) 466-5245 to receive expert legal advice about your case. Be sure to read on to learn more about robbery laws so that you can be fully informed about your charges.

Why Hire Wallin & Klarich?

logosThe success of our robbery defense firm has helped us achieve the highest of merits, including a 5 out of 5 AV rating on, a 10 out of 10 rating on, and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

For over 40 years, the robbery defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have helped many people like you who have been charged with this serious crime. Here are just a few testimonials provided by some of our previous clients who wanted to share their stories:

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Call Wallin & Klarich Today

You can place your trust in Wallin & Klarich. Our knowledgeable California robbery defense attorneys are committed to defending your rights and your freedom. Call us today for immediate help on your case.

For more information on robbery laws, read below or simply pick up the phone and speak to one of our skilled attorneys today.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation.


What is Robbery in California?

Were you charged with robbery under PC 211? Wallin & Klarich can help defend your freedom.
Were you charged with robbery under PC 211? Wallin & Klarich can help defend your freedom.

Under Penal Code 211, California robbery is defined as 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. 

California Penal Code 211 PC separates robbery into two degrees depending upon the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense. First-degree robbery occurs when a person is robbed in one of three circumstances

  1. While a driver or passenger of a vehicle
  2. While the person is inside of an inhabited structure
  3. When a person is either using or has just finished using an ATM

First-degree robbery is punishable by 3, 6, or 9 years in state prison.  All other offenses that are not considered first-degree robbery are charged as second-degree robbery, which is punishable by 2,3 or 5 years in state prison.  A person convicted of either first or second degree robbery is also potentially eligible to be sentenced to probation.  A sentence of probation carries a minimum of no time in jail and a maximum of one year in the county jail.  Both first and second degree robbery are strike offenses in California, subjecting a defendant to potential additional future penalties under California’s 3 strikes law.

Force or fear

One element that the prosecution must prove in a robbery case is the defendant used force or fear to take the property from the victim in order to convict a person of robbery, the prosecution must prove that the person developed the intent to take the property prior to their use of force or fear. For instance, consider the following fact pattern:

Joe finds out that Bill is having an affair with Joe’s wife. Joe confronts Bill and a physical altercation occurs.  At the end of that altercation, Joe notices that Bill’s cell phone has fallen out of his pocket.  Bill then takes Joe’s phone to look for messages sent between his wife and Bill.

In that scenario, Joe would not be guilty of a robbery because he did not develop the intent to take the phone from Bill until after the physical confrontation.


Although situations, where the ‘force’ element of a robbery are met, are fairly obvious, such as the use of physical force or a weapon, the prosecution can also prove a robbery occurred in situations where there is no physical force used if they can show that the defendant placed the victim in fear.  Consider this factual situation:

A man enters a bank and passes a note to the teller.  The note says, “Give me all your $100 bills.  This is serious.”

Even though the man has not made a direct threat to the teller the prosecutor can still prove that there is an implied threat that placed the victim in fear of potential physical harm by the wording of the note.   [1]

Immediate presence

To convict a defendant of robbery the prosecution must also prove that the defendant took the property from the immediate presence of the victim.  Immediate presence is defined as the area sufficiently within the physical control of the victim that he or she can keep possession of if not presented by force or fear.  Consider the following example:

A defendant threatens to use physical force on a victim to get the victim to reveal the combination to a safe located several miles away from where the victim keeps valuable items.  The defendant then drives to the location of the safe and uses the combination the victim gave him to remove items from the safe.

Although the defendant in that situation would be guilty of other crimes, he is not guilty of a robbery because the items taken from the safe were not taken from the immediate presence of the victim.[2]

Robbery while armed

Robbery is a charge where defendants are frequently subject to sentencing enhancements under California 10-20-life gun laws.  A person convicted of robbery while armed faces the following potential additional penalties:

  • 10 years for using a gun during the robbery
  • 20 years for discharging a firearm during the robbery 
  • an additional 25-life sentence for using a firearm during a robbery to cause great bodily or death

Estes Robbery

A defendant can also be charged with a robbery in a situation where they are shoplifting from a store and then use force or fear against employees of the store in order to steal the merchandise or avoid getting caught.  An Estes robbery comes from the case of People v. Estes where the defendant stole a coat from a department store and then swung a knife at a store security guard who was attempting to stop him from leaving the store.

A defendant must have taken the items from the store in order to be convicted of an Estes robbery.  A situation where a person takes items by false pretenses does not constitute a robbery.  For example: 

A person enters a store and pays for items using a fraudulent check.  The store manager reviews the check as the defendant is leaving the store and realizes it is fraudulent.  He sends the store’s security guard to stop the defendant while he is leaving and the defendant fights with the security guard. 

In this situation, the defendant is not guilty of robbery because he acquired the items through the false pretenses of giving the store the bad check rather than by shoplifting the items.[3] 

Defenses to a Charge of Robbery

There are a number of defenses that a California robbery defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich can raise on your behalf. Your attorney can argue that

  • You did not take the property
  • You had a claim of right to the property
  • You did not use force or fear to obtain the property, OR
  • You lacked the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property’s use.

Multiple counts of robbery

A defendant can be charged with more than one count of robbery in two situations.  Either there is more than one robbery that occurs or the person commits a single act of robbery from multiple victims.

Where Can I Find a Team of Experienced California Robbery Defense Attorneys?

If you are confronted with accusations of robbery under Penal Code 211, it is essential that you contact an experienced defense lawyer who is familiar with such cases.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney near you, no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (714) 587-5954. We will be there when you call.


[1] See People v. Cuevas 89 Cal. App. 4th 689 (2001)

[2] See People v. Hayes 52 Cal.3d 577 (1990)

[3] See People v. Weddles 184 Cal.App4th 515 (2010)

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