You’ve probably heard the terms theft, burglary and robbery used interchangeably in conversations. However, these three types of crimes are quite different and carry different penalties.
Knowing what differentiates these offenses is essential if facing charges.
Theft involves the unauthorized taking and removal of another’s personal property with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it permanently.
The penalties depend on the value of the stolen property, ranging from a Class C misdemeanor for property worth less than $50 to a first-degree felony for anything valued at $300,000 or more.
Burglary is classified as unlawfully entering someone’s home, hotel room, or other premises with the intent to commit a crime once inside. That intended crime might be theft, or it might be something else.
The penalties could range from a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine, to a second-degree felony with a punishment of up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
What distinguishes robbery is the direct confrontation between the perpetrator and the victim, resulting in fear or harm on the victim’s part. These two things must apply:
- The person being robbed was present.
- It involved the use of force, threat, or intimidation.
An example of a robbery is a mugger demanding your wallet at knifepoint in a dark alley.
Robbery is a second-degree felony with up to a $10,000 fine and 2 to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors may use a combination of these charges against you, depending on what is alleged to have taken place. Learning more about the differences will be crucial when building a defense.