Legal Dictionary

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Robbery by Appointment

Robbery by appointment is the newest cybercrime spreading across the country. This new type of robbery crime combines theft and cybercrime often leading to violent exchanges including robbery at gunpoint, pistol-whipping, and in some cases, murder.

Robbery by appointment occurs when two or more people agree to meet in person, to buy or sell an item advertised online, that results in a robbery. Robbery by appointment is perpetrated, most commonly, by Craigslist users, who respond to sales ads on Craigslist, even offering to meet during the daylight in public places, with the intent to rob the seller of the item. As this new breed of robbery is becoming more and more common, law enforcement is cracking down, dedicating special units to the investigation of robbery by appointment crimes.

Robbery is a serious and violent crime. Prosecuted under California Penal Code section 211, robbery is the taking of another's property, from his or her person or immediate presence, against their will, by force or threat of force.

In order to obtain a conviction for robbery, prosecutors must prove the following elements:

  • A person took property that didn't belong to them
  • The property was taken from the person of another or from their immediate presence
  • The taking was done against the victim's will
  • The taking was done by use of force or the threat of force
  • The perpetrator intended to permanently deprive the victim of that property.

To satisfy the taking element of robbery, a person must only gain possession of that property and move it; even the slightest movement will satisfy this element of the crime. Moreover, the value of the property taken is irrelevant to the crime; an item can be valued at a dollar and still be considered robbery.

In California, robbery is broken down into two categories, first degree robbery and second degree robbery. A person will be charged with first degree robbery if the robbery occurred: inside an inhabited dwelling, vessel, trailer, bus, taxi cab, cable car, street car, any transportation vehicle for hire or at an ATM. Second degree robbery includes all other forms of robbery.

California considers all forms of robbery a felony. First degree robbery is punishable by three to nine years in state prison where second degree robbery is punishable by two to five years in state prison. Robbery is also considered a 'Strike' under California's Three Strikes Law. If a person is convicted of robbery with a prior 'Strike' on their record, their sentence will be doubled. Moreover, use of a firearm in the commission of a robbery will enhance a sentence by 10 years and if that firearm was discharged, a person will receive an enhanced 20 year sentence.

If a victim was killed or seriously injured during a robbery, a person can face 25 years to life in prison. Any undocumented alien who commits a robbery can also face deportation. Robbery is a serious crime with serious penalties. If you are being charged with, or are being investigated for any form of robbery, including robbery by appointment, contact a Los Angeles criminal attorney to discuss your legal options.