Contact Us for a Free Consultation (213) 542-0979


Home Invasion Robbery vs Regular Robbery

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Aug 20, 2020

Why are Home Invasion Robberies Treated Different than Regular Robberies in California?

Obviously, anytime someone is going into somebody else's home that's a real concern for prosecutors, judges and law enforcement.  They all view things from an eye that the victim in the case could be them.

In other words, they don't want people going into other people's homes committing violence against them, robbing them, holding their family hostage, kidnapping them — these are the types of things that end up happening when somebody commits a home invasion robbery.  That's why these robberies are a different twist than a normal robbery.

Robbery is the Use Of Force to Take Property

A normal robbery under California Penal Code 211, believe it or not, can be as simply as someone using force or violence to take a person's phone away from them.

California Penal Code 211 - Robbery
Robbery under PC 211 is the use of force or violence to Take someone's property.

Could you imagine the difference between breaking into someone else's house, holding everybody at bay, taking their things, threatening them versus just snatching somebody's phone away from them and running away.

Both those cases are technically robberies, but when you go into somebody's home that's where you start to get into an issue that prosecutors and judges obviously want to send people to prison.

It's going to be a strike on your record, and a lot of times you're looking at many years in prison depending on how you effectuated the robbery.

Difference Between PC 211 Robbery and PC 459 Burglary

In other words, was a gun used?  Was a knife used?  Was there more than one defendant involved?  That's another thing that we see a lot in these home invasion robberies in los Angeles county is that it's a number of people that are involved.

It's not just one person going in.  Its multiple people going in.  Then you start to talk about what's the difference between a robbery and a burglary.  People get those terms confused as well.

In a robbery, there's going to be someone there, present and you're taking their property.  You're breaking in in their presence, their home.

A burglary under California Penal Code 459 on the other hand, typically you're going to break into somebody's home and the person is not going to be present.

So, that's a difference and obviously, robberies are treated much more seriously than burglary cases.  If someone's present during a burglary but they don't have any type of contact the the perpetrator, that's still a strike.  It would be served at 85%.  It's considered a violent felony.

Robbery is a Violent Felony and a “Strike” in California

That starts to give you an idea of why when someone's home and that person is perpetrating a crime against them, why it's so serious, and when you start to look at the difference between home invasion robbery and just a regular robbery, first you have to understand what a regular robbery is.

A regular robbery in Los Angeles county is using force or fear to take somebody's property away from them.

Home Invasion Robbery Charges in California
Home invasion robbery is California is a violent felony crime and a “strike” under the three strikes law.

Fear would be that you would threaten the person, for example, and say hey listen, if you don't give me that property, I'm going to shoot you, I'm going to stab you, I'm going to kill you — whatever the case may be.

Force is actually using physical force to take the person's property away.  Maybe you grab a chain from their neck and run away.  Maybe you snatch something out of their hands.  That would be an example of using force to commit a robbery.

Another interesting thing that we see is this concept of what if you when you take something you don't use any force, there's nobody present and in your escape you're confronted as a robber and you end up using force in your escape.

You fight the person.  You hit the person.  You threaten the person.  You use a weapon against the person.  Now they're going to make it into a robbery because they're going to take that force and they're going to pretend like it occurred at the time you took the property because you're using it in your escape.

You really start to get a feel as to a regular street robbery is a lot different than a home invasion robbery because the home invasion robbery is usually planned.  It has multiple people involved.

A lot of times there are weapons.  Sometimes people are tied up, they're duct taped.  They're with their family.  A lot of times there might even be children present.

How to Get the Best Result in a Robbery Case?

Those charged with California Penal Code 211 PC robbery are trying to figure out what they can do to get the best result.  Robbery is a strike.  It's considered a violent felony as part of the California three strikes law.

 So, if you get convicted of robbery, the prosecutors will typically try to send you to prison, and you serve 85% of whatever time you get in court.  So, figuring out how to get the best result is all important. Your first move is to decide whether you will fight the case or have your attorney try to mitigate the case for you. Next, you want to see if you can win the case. 

The Use of Force

Robbery, in general terms, is taking somebody's property by force or fear.  Sometimes we get an Estes robbery, a case that came out where:

  • somebody took property,
  • was leaving a location, and
  • ended up using force or fear during their escape.

They counted that as a robbery.  So, the force of ear didn't come in the taking of the property; but came as the person was trying to leave the store. So, the bottom line is that you must see if you have a defense.

Some people in a store trying to tackle you before you exit the store, you can argue that you weren't going to steal anything, and you don't understand why they attacked you – you might have a defense there. 

What Are Some Robbery Defenses?

Sometimes they have the wrong person.  They're claiming somebody did something, and the person who gets away ends up being somebody that's not you. So it just depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. 

If they can prove that you committed a robbery, we want to mitigate the case.  We want to find a resolution that keeps you out of prison – even out of custody – especially if you don't have any criminal record.

Perhaps we can get something other than a robbery charge. One example of charges I've been able to get on cases under the right circumstances is a Penal Code Section 487(c), basically a grand theft person. That is better than robbery because it is not a strike, and it's a wobbler that can be reduced to a misdemeanor if you can successfully complete probation in the case.

Review of All of the Case Details

We need to look at all of the surrounding facts in your case and:

  • make a list of the evidence the prosecutors are going to use to try to prove you guilty:
  • make a list of the defenses that we have; and
  • then, decide whether we're going to fight the case or not.

Sometimes we can attack the case at the preliminary hearing to damage the prosecutor's case. Then, we can either dismiss it at a trial, get a not-guilty verdict, or mitigate it to something less than a robbery.

I have you come in the office.  We go over all of the facts and details of the case, and when we leave, we're going to leave with a game plan on how we will handle the case. 

I'll let you know what you will do to help me, and I'll give you an idea of my path to get you the best possible result. I've been defending these robbery cases and getting great results for my clients for the past 30 years. So, if you want the best, you've come to the right place.   Pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Ronald D. Hedding, Esq., is the founding member of the Hedding Law Firm. Mr. Hedding has an extensive well-rounded legal background in the area of Criminal Law. He has worked for the District Attorney's Office, a Superior Court Judge, and as the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm. His multi-faceted experience sets Mr. Hedding apart and puts him in an elite group of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Southern California.