Estes Robbery: How Shoplifting Can Turn Into A Felony Robbery Conviction – Penal Code Section 484, 211
You might be surprised to learn that a simple arrest for shoplifting can easily turn into a more serious charge for felony robbery. Using force or fear to push past or get away from a store employee or security guard is enough to trigger what is known as an “Estes Robbery” no matter how much merchandise you are suspected of shoplifting.
What is an Estes Robbery?
In 1983, Curtis Estes attempted to steal a coat and vest from a Sears & Roebuck store in Vallejo, Calif. A security guard followed Estes outside the store, identified himself and confronted him about the coat and vest in the store parking lot. Estes refused to accompany the security guard to the store and began to walk away. As the security guard attempted to detain him, Estes pulled out a knife, swung it at the guard and threatened to kill him.
Estes was convicted after a jury found him guilty of robbery (Penal Code Section 211) by personal use of a deadly weapon (Penal Code Section 12022(b).) and petty theft (Penal Code Section 484).
In California, an Estes Robbery is a robbery that occurs when a shoplifter or thief tries to take some merchandise from a store and is confronted by store security or loss prevention and the shoplifter attempts to push past the security guard or in any way uses force or fear to avoid arrest. Essentially, an Estes Robbery is a simple petty theft from a store that turns into a robbery.
What is the Difference between Petty Theft and Robbery?
Petty theft in California is the taking of property valued at $950 or less. Petty theft is prosecuted as a misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to 180 days in county jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both.
Robbery is the taking of personal property of another from his/her person or immediate presence using force and intimidation with the intent to permanently deprive him/her of it. Robbery is a serious crime prosecuted as a felony in California.
How Can I be Charged with an Estes Robbery?
If you are suspected of stealing merchandise from a store, you will most likely be approached by a store employee or someone from the loss prevention department in order to prevent the theft. If you threaten the store employee or loss prevention agent, or you engage in a physical struggle with them in order to avoid being detained for a possible petty theft (shoplifting) offense, you could be charged with the more serious crime of robbery.
What you said and who or what initiated the physical struggle between you and the store employee will determine how you may be prosecuted.
What is the Punishment for Estes Robbery?
An Estes Robbery is prosecuted as second degree robbery in California pursuant to Penal Code Section 211. Second degree robbery is punishable by two, three or five years in prison (Penal Code Section 213(a)(2).).
A first degree robbery conviction carries up to six years in prison. If you and at least two others commit robbery of an inhabited house or building, you can be sentenced to serve up to nine years in prison (Penal Code Section 213(a)(1)(A).).
Robbery is also considered a “Strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law, which means you will not be eligible for parole until you complete at least 85 percent of your sentence.
Brandishing a gun during a robbery can enhance your sentence by an additional and consecutive 10 years of imprisonment. If you discharge a gun during a robbery, your sentence can be enhanced by an additional and consecutive 20 years. If you use a gun during the robbery that results in serious injury or death, you face 25 years to life in prison in addition to your sentence for the robbery conviction.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today if You Have Been Charged with Robbery
Robbery is a serious crime in California. If you or a family member has been charged with a theft-related offense, you need to speak to one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully defending our clients charged with robbery. We will examine all of the evidence against you to determine if every element of the crime you are charged with is present. We will argue that the charges against you must be reduced or dismissed. Helping you win your case is our first priority.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, the criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available 24/7 to help you get the best possible result in your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.