Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Every Time Robby Should Have Been Arrested On Cobra Kai

Fans of the original "Karate Kid" probably got a major dose of nostalgia when sequel series "Cobra Kai" started streaming. Not only do we see Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) all grown up, but we finally get to see what became of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) after he lost the All Valley Karate Tournament as a teenager. There's also a new generation of promising students thrown into the mix, and they're just as interesting as the original cast members. In fact, they go through many of the same issues.

Bullying, toxic family dynamics, struggles with impulse control, and poor self-confidence are just as prevalent today as they were back when the original films were made. It's still hard to grow up, and difficult to figure out who you are, especially when you lack suitable role models. This applies to poor Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan), the son of Johnny Lawrence and a prime example of how destructive patterns can continue generation after generation within families.

He isn't the only character who pushes the boundaries (nearly everyone in "Cobra Kai" could have been arrested on multiple occasions during the series), but Robby is one of the main offenders when it comes to making questionable decisions. Yet, he's somehow managed to remain largely out of trouble. We're taking a look back at all the times Robby should have been arrested on "Cobra Kai."

Robby is caught with molly at school

In the second episode of Season 1, Robby is caught at school in possession of molly. Possession of a schedule 1 narcotic is a crime, and in the state of California (where Robby lives) the penalty depends on how much of the drug you have. If it's a small amount, for personal use, you could be charged with a misdemeanor, but if you have a large amount and are charged with intent to sell, this is a felony (per Johnson Criminal Law Group). In California, there are additional penalties for selling drugs on a school campus because of Drug-Free Zone laws that were enacted in the 1970s.

When the school can't reach Robby's mother, his dad Johnny gets a call. Johnny is informed that Robby was caught with molly at school, but mistakenly thinks that molly is a girl, initially not understanding that his son had drugs at school. After Johnny asks to talk to Robby about it, the teen calls Johnny a "pathetic loser" and tells him not to start trying to be a father now. After overhearing the conversation, the vice principal resolves to keep trying to reach Robby's mother.

Since this is the last time we hear about Robby having drugs at school, we can assume he only had enough for personal use, and the vice principal decided to not contact the authorities. This is the first instance in "Cobra Kai" where Robby got lucky and wasn't arrested when he should have been.

Robby steals a laptop

Robby steals a laptop in the fourth episode of Season 1, posing as an employee at an electronics store and taking advantage of a customer. After taking the laptop, Robby posts it for sale online, connecting with multiple potential buyers. Trey (Terayle Hill) suggests that Robby takes half down from all three potential buyers and sells it to whoever shows up first. Despite having stolen the laptop, Robby is uncomfortable with this idea. We can see his discomfort from his expression. From this interaction, it is obvious Robby's association with Trey and Cruz (Jeff Kaplan) is leading him toward a life of crime.

Of course, stealing is a crime. In the state of California, stealing something of a value of $950 or more is grand theft, and many laptops are worth more than that! According to the Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center, "Grand theft is a 'wobbler' offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor" depending on circumstances and the individual's criminal history. Receiving or selling stolen property is also a crime in the state of California and you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the extenuating circumstances, making it another "wobbler" offense. Penal Code 496 PC can land you in jail for up to three years in Robby's home state, so he should feel lucky he didn't get arrested for stealing or selling that laptop.

Robby forged Johnny's signature

In Season 1, Episode 4, Johnny gets another call from Robby's high school. Johnny learns Robby hasn't been at school for nearly a month. Robby forged a note saying Johnny was taking him on a father/son trip rafting the Colorado River. Forgery is a crime, but Johnny is just mad that Robby is blowing off school. When Johnny confronts Robby about skipping school for almost a month, Robby says he's done with school and is dropping out. Johnny tries to tell Robby he has his whole life ahead of him, begging him to not screw up his chances at a bright future, but Robby, of course, thinks it sounds hypocritical coming from Johnny, who hasn't exactly become a success.

While it is very unlikely Robby would have been arrested for forging his father's signature on a note for school, it is technically a white-collar crime, which is punishable in California under Penal Code 470 PC. Johnny didn't tell the school that Robby had forged his signature, protecting him from the legal ramifications of his actions. Another violation could have come back to bite Robby when he ditched school for over a month. California truancy laws mean his parents could have been penalized for his unexcused absences. Children between the ages of 6 and 18 are legally required to attend school in the state Robby lives in, so he got off scot-free twice with this infraction.

Robby has cannabis at his house

During the fourth episode of Season 1, Johnny goes to Robby's apartment to confront him about not going to school. Robby and his friends are smoking cannabis, playing video games, listening to music, and watching nasty videos when Johnny arrives. We never see Robby and his friends smoke during this scene, but it looks like Robby is packing a pipe before he argues with Johnny. Considering they caught him with molly in Episode 2, it isn't a big leap to think this rebellious boy is also smoking cannabis with his friends.

Although recreational cannabis might be legal in Robby's state, it is still a controlled substance for minors. Anyone over 21 can have less than one ounce of cannabis in the state of California. If you are over 18, but under 21, authorities can fine you $100 for having this controlled substance in your possession. A 16-year-old like Robby could be fined, and kids under 18 could also be required to do community service and attend counseling for substance abuse.

Of course, Robby doesn't get arrested or fined for having this drug in his possession, because Johnny doesn't report his son's activities to authorities. Robby could have been arrested, but wasn't. Robby certainly got away with a lot in Season 1, and it's pretty obvious he carries a lot of anger about his father not being a part of his life. In Season 1, we also see how much Robby needs a role model, and how he changes and thrives once Daniel LaRusso takes him under his wing.

Robby attacks a man in his apartment

In Season 2, Episode 2, Robby wakes up on the couch in his dark apartment to a man standing by the front door whispering, "Let's get out of here." Thinking someone has broken into his place, Robby attacks the intruder. Flying through the air, Robby punches the guy, knocking him into the front door, only to discover the guy was with his mom. After turning the light on, Robby's mom Shannon (Diora Baird) reveals she is going to Mexico with this man.

Physically attacking someone, or even threatening to hurt someone, is grounds for being arrested for assault, battery, or aggravated assault, depending on the circumstances. This situation is a little tricky. Robby thought this man was an intruder in his home. Castle doctrine says we can defend our homes using physical force, even lethal force if we fear "imminent harm." Since Robby thought this man was an intruder, he could probably get away with the attack.

Yet, he wasn't an intruder. This man was the guest of Robby's mom, the person who legally rents the apartment. While Robby attacking this man might not be an actual crime, this is where we begin to see Robby using physical violence to solve his problems, a choice that becomes second nature throughout Season 2, culminating in a tragic event. Was it assault, or a misunderstanding? You decide!

The mall brawl could have ended with everyone in jail

In Season 2 of "Cobra Kai," Demetri (Gianni DeCenzo) joins Daniel LaRusso's dojo because he is sick of being bullied at school. He's also unhappy with the influence Cobra Kai has on his best friend Eli (Jacob Bertrand), who adopted the moniker "Hawk" after his transformation under the tutelage of Johnny Lawrence and John Kreese (Martin Kove). In Episode 5, Demetri, Sam LaRusso (Mary Mouser), and Robby go to the mall together, where Demetri visits a comic book shop, resulting in him having an altercation with Hawk and other Cobra Kai students.

Demetri flees the comic book shop, running back to the food court looking for Sam and Robby. Demetri is surrounded, but Sam and Robby show up just in time, defending him against the Cobra Kai students. The "mall brawl" may have started with Robby and Sam protecting Demetri, but it escalated when Robby knocked Hawk to the ground with a powerful kick. Luckily, Hawk didn't sustain any serious injuries when his head struck the floor.

Sam, Robby, and all the Cobra Kai students could easily be charged with assault if the fight was reported to authorities (or if the mall security guard wasn't too busy eating his lunch with headphones on, as we saw when Demetri ran past him on his way to the food court). On top of assault, these teenagers could have been charged with disturbing the peace if authorities had apprehended them.

Robby injures Miguel during the hall brawl

By the end of "Cobra Kai" Season 2, pretty much all the karate students are using violence to solve their problems, not realizing the violence is only making things worse. Sam, Robby, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña), and Tory (Peyton List) have developed grudges, and the tension has reached a fever pitch. Robby is jealous of Miguel's new father-son relationship with Johnny, and he is becoming increasingly jealous of Sam's feelings for Miguel. Meanwhile, Tory is jealous of Miguel's feelings for Sam. Tory is also jealous of the easy and financially privileged life Sam has with her family, while she has to work to support her family. In Episode 10, these tensions erupt in the halls of the high school.

What begins as an argument between Tory and Sam grows into a full-fledged hall brawl between Cobra Kai students and Miyagi-Do students. As the fight escalates, Sam is injured by Tory and Robby kicks Miguel over a railing, sending him falling onto the stairs below. Miguel is unconscious and hospitalized after the fight, and viewers are left not knowing if he will come around.

Of course, assault, battery, and aggravated assault are crimes, and that must have been running through Robby's mind following the fight. Robby and every other Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do student could have also been charged with disturbing the peace. Being charged with disturbing the peace on school grounds in California is taken seriously, carrying additional consequences if convicted.

Robby steals a van and goes on the lam

Season 3 begins with Robby evading authorities after the fight that landed Miguel in the hospital. In Episode 1, the LaRusso's learn that a vehicle is missing from the used car lot at the dealership. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to ascertain Robby stole the van because he knew no one would notice it was missing until he was long gone. Daniel goes in search of Robby armed with a cell phone to track the low-jack GPS of the van. But when Daniel finds the tracking device in a park, it becomes clear Robby remembered to remove it before going on the lam. We eventually learn that Robby sold the van to a chop shop.

They finally arrested Robby (while visiting his mom in rehab) for sending Miguel to the hospital in this episode, and from the seriousness of Miguel's injuries, he was likely looking at an aggravated assault charge, despite the fight being mutual. Robby gets away with grand theft auto, Penal Code 487d1 PC in California. Robby also gets away with selling the stolen van (which is also a crime) because Daniel never reports the van as stolen to the authorities. Robby of course resents Daniel for turning him into the police, giving him more fuel for his anger.

Robby fights in juvenile hall

After Robby is sent to a juvenile detention center, he gets bullied by one of the other inmates, Shawn Payne (Okea Eme-Akwari). Robby walks away from the insults, determined to not fight and get in more trouble. But in Episode 5, Robby's resolve weakens after Johnny flakes on visiting him to stay at the hospital with Miguel. Robby and Shawn have a knock-down, drag-out fight in the halls of the center. Robby may have started the fight, but Shawn joined it with enthusiasm.

Just because a fight is mutual, doesn't mean each participant can't be charged with battery, Penal Code Section 242. The fact that nobody was injured doesn't protect them from being charged either. After the fight is broken up by guards, Robby and Shawn both refuse to snitch on the other, establishing begrudging respect between the two boys. Since this is the last we hear about the fight, and Robby's time in the juvenile detention center soon ends, we can assume neither of the boys was charged for their altercation, but they could have been.

Robby steals a snake from the zoo

After being released from the juvenile detention center and placed on probation, Robby has nowhere to go. He ends up sleeping at the Cobra Kai dojo and falling under the influence of John Kreese, who has taken over the dojo in the wake of Miguel's injuries. Robby hangs out with Tory, bonding over being the only two karate students on probation after the fight at the end of Season 2. In the ninth episode of Season 3, Robby joins Tory and other Cobra Kai students in an assignment Kreese gave them. Robby, Tory, and a few Cobra Kai students, including Hawk, sneak into the zoo to steal a snake.

When a security guard almost catches the group before they get the snake, they split up to escape. Robby stays behind to steal the snake, meeting up with the Cobra Kai students beyond the zoo's fence. Compared to other crimes Robby has committed and gotten away with, this might seem minor, and more like a prank than a crime. But theft is a crime. Like any other theft, if they value this snake at more than $950, Robby committed grand theft again. If the snake is worth less than $950, it is petty theft, and Robby could have still been arrested.

Robby fights his father for Kreese

By the end of Season 3, Robby has let his anger at Johnny and Daniel drive him toward the negative influence of John Kreese. In Episode 10, Johnny goes to Cobra Kai to confront Kreese about stealing his dojo and students. Johnny and Kreese fight, and when Johnny gets the upper hand, Robby intervenes on Kreese's behalf. Johnny doesn't want to fight his son, but Johnny deflects Robby's attack, pushing him into the metal lockers and accidentally knocking Robby out.

Kreese attacks Johnny again, and Daniel LaRusso arrives just in time to help Johnny. Daniel has come to the Cobra Kai dojo to confront Kreese about his students trashing the LaRusso house and attacking Daniel's students. LaRusso disables Kreese with the move he learned during his visit to Okinawa but walks away from the fight. Although Robby was protecting Kreese, and Daniel was protecting Johnny, everyone involved in this fight could have been arrested for battery.

All the students at both dojos have turned to violence to solve their problems by now. Although martial arts can teach discipline, patience, and focus, in the hands of a bunch of hotheads it can create more conflict. It's great to see Daniel and Johnny team up to expel the negative influence of Kreese from their community.

Robby cuts off Hawk's hair

In Season 4, Robby commits himself to Cobra Kai and begins teaching the students Miyagi-Do defense techniques to give the dojo an edge at the All Valley Karate Tournament. In Episode 5, Robby and some Cobra Kai students ambush Hawk in the tattoo shop. Ever since Hawk switched sides during the fight at the LaRusso house at the end of Season 3, tensions between him and his former friends at Cobra Kai have escalated. When the Cobra Kai students restrain Hawk, Robby threatens him with a straight-edge razor, cutting off Hawk's mohawk.

Although he wasn't physically hurt, under these circumstances, the behavior was a violation and could have led to Robby and the other Cobra Kai students being charged with assault. They restrained Hawk, and Robby threatened him with a weapon. While this might seem minor compared to being kicked off a balcony onto a flight of stairs, for example, it is still illegal, mean-spirited, and malicious. These kids should be ashamed of themselves.

The prom fight

In Episode 8 of Season 4, the kids go to junior prom. Robby accompanies Tory in a pathetic attempt to ruin Miguel and Sam's night, and they succeed. Sam and Miguel make it through an awkward dance, but jealousies erupt at Stingray's after-party where Sam and Tory start a fight. Miguel and Robby get involved, but it ends humorously with everyone in the pool, diffusing the tension. Despite this fight being a minor one, everyone could have been charged with assault or even battery. Fighting while attending a party with underage drinking (and a neighbor already threatening to call the cops with a disturbing the peace complaint) seems like pushing it for two kids who are on probation.

By this point in Season 4, Robby seems to be calming down and wising up. He sees that the influence of Kreese and the new sensei Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) on his fellow students at Cobra Kai is negative. By the end of Season 4, it is clear Robby is tired of being in trouble. He's realizing that the anger he carries inside of him is only making his life more miserable and driving a wedge between him and the people who care about what happens to him. We hope Season 5 is the season where Robby stops breaking the law and starts living up to his potential. Despite all his mistakes, we think he's got a good heart hidden under all that pain.