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I. PC 213(b): Attempted Robbery Laws


Legal Definition: “(b) Notwithstanding Section 664, attempted robbery in violation of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison.”

A robbery is:

  1. You took property that was not your own;
  2. The property was in the possession of another person;
  3. The property was taken from another person’s immediate possession;
  4. The property was taken against the other person’s will;
  5. You used force or fear to take the property from the other person, or you prevented the other person from being able to resist; AND
  6. You intended to permanently deprive that other person of the value of the property.

II. What does this mean?


Robbery is 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. An attempted robbery is attempting to take property from another, but failing to do so. In other words, failing to complete the crime of Robbery is also a felony charge in California. Robbery is simply the idea of taking something that isn’t yours, by force, with the intent to never return this item. Most commonly this can be seen through purse snatching or when someone mugs another on the street. Although these are common examples, the value of the item taken is irrelevant. If you take a person’s wallet and they have no money in that wallet, it is still a robbery. For attempted robbery, a situation could happen where you try to take money from a person’s pocket, that person stops you as you are grabbing it, and you never are able to get the money away. Because you did not complete the crime, it would not be a regular robbery, but rather an Attempted Robbery under PC 213(b).

The intent to take the property must have been formed before or during the time you used force or fear. If you did not form this required intent until after using the force or fear, then you did not commit robbery. Property is within a person’s immediate presence if it is sufficiently within his or her physical control that he or she could keep possession of it if not prevented by force or fear. An act is done against a person’s will if that person does not consent to the act. In order to consent, a person must act freely and voluntarily and know the nature of the act. Generally, though, a person does not consent to ever being robbed, outside of role-playing.

Fear, as used here, means fear of injury to the person/injury to the person’s family or property/immediate injury to someone else present during the incident or to that person’s property. The force required for robbery must be more than the incidental touching necessary to take the property.

III. Penalties


A conviction for PC 213(b), Attempted Robbery is a felony-only offense. This means that you can never be charged as a misdemeanor, it can only be a felony offense, which carries the potential for a prison sentence. A conviction under this section can land you in State Prison for 16 months, 2, or 3 years. You would have to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. Since this is only a felony, you would therefore lose your ability to ever own or possess a firearm or ammunition, upon a conviction for this offense. Attempted robbery is only a second-degree charge, there is no first-degree attempted robbery. You cannot ever reduce this charge under a PC 17(b) because it is considered a “straight felony” offense.

This is a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, but it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since this offense could be an aggravated felony under Federal Law, and it is a crime involving moral turpitude. Because this is a strike, any future felony charge would mean your maximum exposure on that new case is doubled, if you have a prior conviction for Attempted Robbery, and then that future case you would serve a minimum of 80% of that time in custody since it is a strike.

IV. Common Defenses


  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Duress
  5. Claim of Right
  6. Coerced Confession

If a person honestly believes that he or she has a right to the property even if that belief is mistaken or unreasonable, such belief is a defense to robbery. This would be considered a “Claim of Right” Defense to robbery. If you are walking through a department store, and you cannot find your purse, but see another person with an identical purse and then attempt to grab and take that purse – so long as you have a reasonable belief that it was your purse, you cannot be convicted of robbery. This can happen often if you think the item is yours, you go to retrieve that item by force, and then immediately realize it is not yours – this would be an attempt if you never actually took the item from the other party.

Generally speaking, a person who confesses to a crime that is forced out of them by police conduct, would be inadmissible to be used against them in Court. This makes logical sense, if the police force a confession out of a person illegally, it should not be able to be brought into Court to be used against them. Generally, this can happen during police interrogations where police, believing they have their person, do whatever it takes to you make you confess. They can do this through physical abuse or psychological abuse. Police can lie to you. They can claim there are witnesses that saw you at the scene, that another person has blamed you as the one responsible, whatever it takes to get you to confess. These are generally considered normal police conduct, but there are limits to what they can and cannot do. When they go too far, they end up with a coerced confession. If police forced you to confess to an attempted robbery, your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney can work towards getting that confession suppressed, which would lead to a good result in your criminal case.

V. Call Today


An attempted robbery conviction can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. It is a straight felony, meaning you can never reduce the charges, never own a firearm or ammunition, for life. Not only this but you can also be sent to State Prison for up to 3 years. It is also a strike offense, meaning any future felonies would be doubled, based on a conviction under PC 213(b). These are charges that must be heavily defended against. Our Ontario PC 213(b) attorney has successfully defended many people charged with crimes throughout the entire Inland Empire. Call your local Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney today at the Inland Empire Defense 909-939-7126. Located in Ontario.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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