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  • former deputy public defender

    As a former Deputy Public Defender in Riverside County, Mr. Donath has always been on the defense side of the law. 

  • award winning certified criminal law specialist

    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

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    Your lawyer should have a passion for defense, not just a passion for money. Reputation, vigor, and determination go a long way in this business.

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Riverside Robbery Attorney

We Will Work as Your Riverside Robbery Attorney

No matter the circumstances of your particular crime, we will work hard to reach the best outcome possible, whether that is a reduced charge or an outright dismissal. Contact us today for expert legal counsel from an award-winning Riverside robbery lawyer. All initial consultations are free, whether you end up hiring the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC or not.


California Law: What Is Robbery?

Many states, including California, define robbery as an act involving the theft of property using actual force or the threat of physical force. Robbery differs from burglary in that it involves a victim who experiences actual harm or reasonable fear for his or her safety. When a defendant uses a gun or other deadly weapon during a robbery, the crime may fulfill conditions for aggravated or armed robbery, which carries harsher penalties.

Here’s an example of a possible robbery under California law: Jim approaches Sue from behind and holds a fist behind her back, demanding her purse. Sue fears Jim might be holding a gun and surrenders her property. Were Jim’s fist actually a gun, he would face charges of aggravated robbery.

Seek advice from a weapons charges lawyer in Riverside to talk about your legal options if you are convicted of an armed robbery.

Potential Penalties for Robbery

At its core, robbery is theft or larceny under the threat or presence of violence. This makes robbery a violent crime, and subject to harsher penalties under California law. The state views robbery as a felony, punishable by both fines and jail time. California Penal Code Section 213 outlines the punishments for robbery by type:

  • The first-degree robbery carries a term of imprisonment of 3,4, or 6 years. Robbery with a conspiracy to commit it in a home or other inhabited place can lead to 3,6, or 9 year’s imprisonment.
  • Second-degree robbery is less serious but carries a term of 2,3 or 5 years imprisonment.

The element of force is core to a robbery charge. As a result, one of the essential questions for the prosecution is the timing of violence. For example, if violence only occurs when a defendant tries to escape the scene after committing burglary, he or she may face charges of resisting arrest and larceny (theft), but not robbery.

Further, the degree of violence required to elevate theft to robbery can be slight, depending on the circumstances. Even the threat of physical violence or intimidation can lead to robbery charges over theft charges – for example, if a large and intimidating assailant robs an elderly person. On the other hand, all robberies require some element of violence. For example, the elderly person must resist giving up the purse before theft turns into a robbery. If the defendant’s action required no force to remove the purse from the person, then a jury may find that theft occurred, not robbery.

This distinction can be very important in mounting an effective criminal defense for robbery. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue, in some cases, that the amount of necessary force did not rise beyond what was required to take the property in question.

Evidentiary Standards in Robbery Cases

A criminal defense attorney’s job is to establish reasonable doubt in a jury. In order to face a conviction for robbery, the prosecution must convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the robbery occurred under threat of violence. An experienced criminal defense attorney can establish reasonable doubt in a jury in a variety of ways, but one of these is by showing a jury that it’s possible that the threat of violence or use of violence was not strong enough to justify a robbery charge. If even one juror believes that there might not be enough violence to assign guilt, then a conviction cannot occur.

On the other hand, establishing reasonable doubt in a jury requires skill and experience. Some defendants rely on their right to a free public defense, which often proves to be a mistake. These attorneys become overworked and have large caseloads, which makes them unable to dedicate proper attention to each defendant’s case.

If you’re facing robbery charges in Riverside, you need assistance from a Riverside robbery defense attorney. Contact Riverside robbery attorney Graham Donath to schedule a consultation and explore your legal options today.

What to Do When You Are Charged With Robbery in Riverside

If you are arrested on robbery charges, exercise your right to remain silent. When you are taken into custody, you should be polite and courteous to the arresting officers, but do not volunteer any information about the alleged crime. Police officers are trained to get you to confess, so you do not want to accidentally give away any information that could incriminate you. You should ask for legal representation as soon as possible. Do not answer any questions or sign any documents without a lawyer present.

Once the initial arrest is over, your legal team can go to work building your defense. Like any criminal charge, the defenses we craft hinge on our clients’ histories and the circumstances of their incidents. However, we also know that it is important to keep our clients informed, so here are some tactics we may be able to use to get your sentence dismissed or reduced:

  • Lack of force or fear. The main sticking point in a felony robbery charge is the use of “force or fear” to take property that is not yours. If you did not use these, you still may be charged with another type of theft crime, but these carry lesser penalties than the first-degree robbery.
  • Perceived right of ownership. In some cases, you may honestly believe you had a claim to the property you took. This type of defense may work in domestic situations. For example, say you have an ex-spouse some money but realized he or she was going to use it for something other than what you gave it for. If you forcibly took the money back, you may initially be charged with robbery. Your legal team can use what is known as a “claim of right” defense to say the robbery did not occur.

Committing robbery can go beyond the classic “stick up” scenario. In fact, you may commit an offense in a way you did not consider possible. Since the California laws regarding robbery are so intricate, it’s wise to meet with a Riverside robbery lawyer to go over the details of your unique charges.

There are several ways you can be charged with robbery:

  • Breaking into a home and stealing property that belongs to someone else (you may also be charged with burglary under the state’s laws).
  • Stealing from someone who is unconscious.
  • Threatening an owner of a property with physical harm as you attempt to escape. (Criminal Threat)

In the state of California, robbery is always classified as a felony. However, the degree of the felony, as well as the punishment, depends on the individual circumstances surrounding the crime. Again, for detailed information surrounding your charges, schedule your free consultation with our award-winning Riverside robbery attorney.

To be charged with a first-degree felony, one of the following elements must be present:

  1. The robbery takes place while the victim is using or just finish using an ATM.
  2. The robbery occurs in an inhabited dwelling (like a house or a boat).
  3. The victim is a passenger or driver of a transportation device – i.e., a train, car, or taxi.

First degree felonies are the most serious offenses and can result in a jail sentence of 3-6 years and up to $10,000 in fines.

Burglaries under all other circumstances are classified as second-degree felonies and should be taken seriously. These crimes tend to be punished less harshly, but  Riverside burglary attorneys say it can still carry a jail sentence of 2-5 years and up to $10,000 in fines. In some cases, judges will consider felony probation.

If you are accused of a robbery or burglary, speak to our Riverside robbery lawyers immediately to prepare a skilled defense.