Robbery is defined in the California Penal Code Section 211 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.”
While we have all seen robberies in the movies where the robber holds up a gun or knife and demands that the victims hand over their valuables, in real life, you do not need to use a weapon in order to be convicted of a robbery. Merely threatening to beat someone up is sufficient. This is often called “strongarm robbery.”
However, there must be some force more than the minimum necessary to take the property. Snatching a purse or a cell phone from someone’s hand or arm may not be a robbery, but may be grand theft person.
Defense of robbery cases usually centers around two issues: Identification and participation.
The police typically identify robbery suspects two ways: via a field show up if a suspect is arrested at or near the scene and time of the robbery, and via a photographic line up if a suspect is identified at a later time.
If identification is in issue in a robbery (or where appropriate in an assault, murder, and some other types of crimes) the defense attorney can make a motion for a live, in-person lineup to be conducted.
Attorney Charles Mashburn has been successful in the past in obtaining a dismissal on a case where a lineup was requested.
However, it is critical that the lineup be requested before the alleged victim sees you in court. Once the preliminary hearing is held, it is usually too late to conduct a lineup.
If you are charged with robbery, it is important that you call an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Even if you have been identified as being present at a robbery, the prosecution still has to prove that you actively participated in the robbery. Mere presence at a robbery is not sufficient for a conviction. However, if you were present at a robbery and did not participate in the actual robbery, the police and prosecution will often try to claim that you acted as a lookout.
In this situation, the truthfulness and the experience of the police witnesses becomes a factor, and you need the help of an experienced attorney.