This past week there was a new turn of events on the recent crime wave of robberies on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. For the eighth time in recent weeks a group of young men have held up shoppers taking their personal possessions and scaring these victims. Some news reporters have incorrectly stated that the culprits were committing armed burglaries.
In California, robbery is defined by Penal Code Section 211 as the taking of personal property of some value, no matter how slight, from the immediate presence of another person, by the use of force or fear. The force could be a gun or other weapon. The fear element means that the person being robbed felt fear for their safety, or the safety of another person. It is punishable by jail or prison and and fines.
There are two types of robberies, first degree robbery and second degree robbery. Robbery of the first degree is when the person commits a robbery as defined previously, but the robbery occurs either at an ATM, in the home of a person, or of a taxi or bus driver. The more common form of robbery is robbery of the second degree. These are all other types of robberies, such as street muggings.
On the other hand, burglary is defined in Penal Code Section 459 as the unlawful entry into a residence for the purpose of committing any felony. Unlike robbery, in a burglary, a person need not be present at the residence at the time of the break in. This crime is also punished by jail or prison time.
Both crimes very serious, violent felonies and in California both robbery and burglary are considered “strikes” under the “Third Strike Law.” A conviction of either of these crimes may have serious effects of future sentencing. A person is convicted of two strikes and then convicted of any other felony, could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Because the penalties for a conviction of a robbery are so severe, anyone being charged with crime should immediately contact a Los Angeles or Southern California attorney.