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A charge of robbery in the second degree is addressed by California Penal Code § 212.5 as being all robberies that are not listed in first-degree robberies, which are listed on this page.  First-degree robbery is defined as those that take place on any mode of transportation, such as a bus, taxicab, cable car, trackless trolley, vehicles on tracks, as well as any building used for habitation purposes. This includes houseboats and trailer coaches. Carjacking is also a first-degree robbery. Additionally, first-degree robberies are conducted by more than one person.

Included in first-degree robbery is the robbery of persons at an ATM or a person who has just left an ATM but is still near the ATM. All second-degree robberies are those that take place anywhere else not listed above. These are conducted by one person.

Penalties for Second-Degree Robbery

Both first degree and second-degree robberies are considered felonies in California. Enhancement charges can be added on if a firearm, assault weapon, or machine gun is used, adding up to another 10 years to the sentence. If the weapon was discharged during the robbery, then another 10 years could be added on.

In most cases, probation terms are not offered in first-degree robbery convictions

Second-degree robbery charges bring a sentence of two, three, to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. A formal or felony probation is an alternative sentence which requires a convicted person of the felony to spend time in the community under supervision. This is an alternative to spending a sentence in jail. A probation term can be three to five years. Under probation terms, the person must complete the following:

  • Commit no other crimes (other than simple traffic infractions),
  • Commit to regularly scheduled visits to a probation officer, as set by the court,
  • Perform community services, and
  • Pay restitution (typically, financial) to the victim.

The judge can impose other terms, but whatever is set in place, must be observed fully by the convicted person, or a full sentence will be imposed as determined by a judge. In most cases, probation terms are not offered in first-degree robbery convictions.

Three Strikes Law

If you conduct another robbery, you will receive a doubled sentence from what you received the first time. In a third robbery, the sentence is automatically raised to a minimum of 25 years to life in prison. Neither situation will be eligible for a formal or felony probation term.

The amendment for the enactment of the Three Strikes Sentencing Law occurred in 1994 and was modified after the November election in 2012. The changes consisted of two major points. The first point: only those convictions of the third felony had to be a serious or violent felony to qualify for the 25 years to life in prison sentence. The second point: allowed those currently serving a third strike sentence, to petition the court for a sentence reduction down to a second-strike level.

In any case of robbery, the prosecutor must prove beyond a question of doubt, that you were the perpetrator in the robbery. Witnesses are known to have faulty memories, and each can tell their own story as they saw it. These stories can widely differ from one person to the next.

If you have been charged with a robbery, call us at once for a consultation. 619-234-2300

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong

Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, in June 2007. Prior to that, he was employed as the senior associate attorney for a large criminal defense firm in San Diego for nine years, eventually being placed in charge of that firm’s branch office in downtown San Diego. At one point, he was managing six attorneys at that firm, as well as several support staff and law clerks. In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys. In 2017, he was also selected for the Super Lawyers Top 50 in San Diego list. In 2014, he was selected as a Top Attorney by Los Angeles Magazine. Additionally, Mr. Armstrong was also named as a Top Attorney by the San Diego Business Journal in 2014.

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