Robbery and burglary are frequently confused with each other by those who are not familiar with the world of law. From a criminal justice perspective, the two are quite different. In this article, we will break down and compare these charges to give you a better understanding of the legal ramifications of one or the other.
What is Burglary?
Burglary is defined as the criminal offense of breaking and entering into a building unlawfully with the intent to commit a crime.
A victim does not have to be present in order for a burglary to take place. Additionally, burglary does not always involve theft. One could be charged for burglary by unlawfully breaking and entering into a building in order to commit murder, for example. The elements of burglary are:
- Breaking. In order for a burglary to be committed, you do not have to use force or violence to enter a building or structure. The key here is unlawfully breaking into the structure. Simply pushing a door open can constitute as breaking in.
- Entry. Unlawfully entering a building or structure, even simply stretching your hand through a window to take something from inside is enough to be considered a burglary.
- Structure. Entering any building or structure for the purpose of committing a crime inside is considered burglary. This makes even shoplifting a kind of burglary.
What are the Consequences of Burglary?
Burglary comes in four degrees. First-degree burglary is the most serious, and fourth-degree is less so and can be considered a misdemeanor. A prison sentence for burglary can be anything from 1 to 25 years in prison depending on a variety of factors revolving around the case. Contact a burglary lawyer for help with your case.
What is Robbery?
Robbery is the taking of belongings in the possession of another, from them or their presence, forcefully or by intimidation. Robbery is a crime of theft and can even be categorized as larceny.
Theft means taking something that is not yours. However, robbery involves taking something from someone by force or threat of force. In order to understand the differences of burglary vs robbery, understanding the difference between robbery and theft is important. Robbery has elements that are not necessary in theft:
- Person. A robbery can only be committed if you take something from someone else. This involves taking property in someone else’s possession as well as property under their control. For example, if a safe that an employee in a store can access is emptied, this is robbery. A victim or victims must be present at the scene.
- Violence. Although robbery is often a violent crime, it is not necessary for the victim to have suffered any injury. Simply taking property from another person by any type of force—e.g. threats or violence—can be considered robbery.
What are the Consequences of Robbery?
Robbery has different degrees. First-degree robbery involves severe injury to the victim and accomplishment of the crime. Sentencing depends on a number of factors including:
- Previous criminal record
- Use of a weapon
- The victim’s degrees of injury or whether injuries resulted in death
- Property stolen
- Probation violations
If convicted of robbery, sentencing can be one year to life in prison depending on the above factors. Other consequences are probation and fines. Although both crimes involve theft, it is the circumstances such as the means, methods and victims surrounding each that exposes their differences. Contact a robbery lawyer for help with your case.
Representation for Burglary vs Robbery
When it comes to any criminal charge, the ramifications can be quite serious. The best move is to get representation for your situation in order to protect your rights. Whether you have been charged with burglary or robbery, contact Marchiano Law Corp today for legal advice on how to handle your case.