Burglary and robbery are two very different crimes, but people often confuse them. When thinking about burglary vs robbery, we should know that the former stands for the unlawful entry of a structure with the intent to commit a felony. In contrast, robbery represents taking something from someone by force or threat of violence.
No one wants to become a victim of either of these crimes. However, it’s essential to make clear distinctions between the two to be better prepared.
What Is Burglary?
Burglary stands for illegal entry into a structure or onto a property with the purpose of committing a crime. Let’s note that the building in question doesn’t necessarily need to be a home or a commercial one. In addition, there don’t have to be any physical signs of breaking and entering; the culprit can also trespass through an open door or window.
Different states have different laws governing burglary, but all of them require three crucial elements to be present.
- unauthorized entry (breaking and entering, or entering without permission)
- occupancy (the structure or building in question must be occupied at the time of entry)
- the intent to commit a crime (there must be proof that the person who committed burglary intended to commit another crime once inside the occupied structure)
The penalties for burglary depend on several factors. These include the nature of the crime, the type of property, and whether the crime involved violence. Examples of punishments are fines, probation time, and time in prison.
First-degree burglary is the most serious and is typically treated as a felony. Penalties can include hefty fines and even life imprisonment in some states. Second-degree burglary charges involve up to 15 years of probation or prison, along with surcharges and fines.
Those who commit third-degree burglary offenders may have to pay lower fines, face up to five years in prison, or receive probation time. Fourth-degree burglaries are usually treated as misdemeanors, so they typically involve jail sentences of up to three years or fines of no more than $3,000.
Example of Burglary
A typical burglary example is breaking into a home or business to steal money or property. Others include breaking into a car to steal valuables or using a false key to enter a locked building.
Having a home security system, like Frontpoint, helps in these situations. Burglars are looking for easy targets, and a home security system makes your home a much less attractive option. Moreover, statistics show that over 20% of Americans have an alarm system.
What Is Robbery?
A robbery is a theft through violence or the threat of violence — the offenders confront the victims directly and use force to steal their belongings. There are three different levels, depending on the level of force used. Moreover, each robbery pertains to a set of elements that need to be present for it to be treated as such.
You may be wondering: “what is aggravated robbery?” Robberies that involve weapons or the ones where the victims suffer physical injuries are called “armed” or “aggravated,” in contrast to simpler thefts where the victim isn’t harmed.
Elements of Robbery
Robbery is a serious crime that involves a person taking another person’s property by force. The elements include:
- the property must belong to another person
- the offender must have taken the property from that person
- there must have been some form of force or threat used to take the property
- the intent to steal the property must have been present, and the individual must have intended to deprive its owner of it permanently
The sentence for robbery always depends on the level of the crime:
- Level one (robbery with minimal force)
This could result in a fine or up to a year in jail.
- Level two (robbery with the use of a weapon)
This will result in a lengthy prison sentence or even life imprisonment.
- Level three (robbery involving the use of a weapon or force or a severe injury)
This is a serious offense, with sentences ranging from three years to life imprisonment.
What are the penalties for armed robbery charges? If found guilty of robbing while armed, the offender will be subject to a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
If you are caught in possession of items that may be used to commit the crime in question, it could be considered that you were going equipped for theft. Factors such as the nature of the crime and the value of the items stolen also affect the sentence. For example, if the robbery involved a firearm, the prison sentence can be extended by up to 15 years.
What Is a Robbery? — Examples
To better differentiate it from other crimes, here are two examples of robberies:
- A man walks into a bank and demands money from the teller, stating he has a weapon in his pocket. He takes the money and escapes before the police can apprehend him.
- A group of thieves approaches a man on the street and threatens him with violence unless he doesn’t hand over his wallet and phone. The man quickly surrenders his belongings, fearing for his life. The thieves walk away with the stolen goods and escape before the police arrive.
Burglary vs Robbery — Similarities and Differences
Both of these crimes involve stealing from a victim, but they still have some critical differences.
Robbery typically means taking property from a person by force or threat of force. This can include physical violence, such as hitting or punching the victim or using a weapon.
On the other hand, burglary typically means breaking into a home or a commercial building with the intent to commit a crime. Examples include picking a lock, prying open a window, or breaking down a door. Moreover, two-thirds out of the 2.5 million annual burglaries are home break-ins.
However, burglary vs robbery facts also reveal some similarities between these two crimes. For example, both include the intent to steal something, and the former can (but doesn’t have to) involve the use of violence, which is always present in a robbery.
Let’s look at these examples to see the differences:
|a person breaking into your home with force while you are not there and taking your belongings||a robber forces the victim to withdraw money from an ATM through threats|
|thieves entering through a window of a house and stealing jewelry, cash, and other valuables while the occupants aren’t home||a masked group holds up a convenience store with firearms|
Home Invasion vs Burglary vs Larceny vs Theft vs Robbery — Most Commonly Confused Crimes
These five are some of the most commonly confused crimes in the legal system. Keep in mind that each has its own set of elements and penalties. Even though people most often confuse burglary and theft, the other three are similar enough to further add to the confusion. The following sections will provide details on each of these crimes so that you can make a clear distinction.
Burglary vs Theft
Burglary is defined as the unlawful entry into a structure to steal something. To charge someone with this crime, the prosecutor must prove that the person intended to commit a crime once they entered the building. On the other hand, theft stands for taking another person’s property without consent, intending to deprive the victim of it permanently. It also often occurs without the victim being aware.
The difference between theft and burglary is that, in the case of theft, the prosecutor doesn’t need to prove you intended to commit the crime once you took the property; they only need to prove that you wanted to keep it for yourself.
The penalties for these two crimes depend on the value of the property involved and the state where they occurred. Most often, they are punishable by fines and/or jail time.
Robbery vs Theft
At their core, both of these crimes involve taking or trying to take someone else’s money or property without their permission. However, the main difference is whether the perpetrator uses force or threats of physical harm during the act.
For instance, in a theft, the offender takes the property without the use of violence and usually without the victim’s knowledge. In a robbery, though, they use force or the threat of force to take the goods from the victim.
Another difference between robbery and theft is that the robber takes the property directly from the victim. In a theft, the criminal takes the goods while out of sight and while the victim is away. It also stands for all kinds of stealing, such as intellectual property theft, identity theft, and theft of services.
The penalties for theft and robbery also depend on the property’s value and the crime’s circumstances. This can vary widely between states and countries, so it’s essential to check the laws in your jurisdiction for precise information.
Larceny vs Robbery
In general, larceny only refers to the theft of physical items. In fact, it can include the theft of cars or jewelry and theft of services, such as cable TV or Internet service, and can also happen when the owner is not around.
Both crimes are treated as theft of personal property. However, robbery involves the use or threat of force, unlike larceny-theft. For example, if someone steals your car at gunpoint or intimidates you with a weapon to make you hand over your purse, that’s robbery.
The critical difference between the two crimes is the use of force or threat of force in robbing a person versus the lack of confrontation in larceny. Both are usually considered felonies, meaning they’re punishable with a lengthy prison sentence.
Robbery vs Burglary vs Theft
Robbery, burglary, and theft are all crimes that involve taking property that doesn’t belong to you. However, they differ according to the type of property in question, the location, whether the perpetrator used force or threats, and other circumstances.
Robbery involves taking something from a person by force or the threat of force through confrontation. On the other hand, the burglary definition states that the criminal has to enter a structure to commit a crime, with or without force, and often with the intent to steal something.
At the same time, in a theft, the culprit takes the goods without the use of force while the victim is unaware. It also doesn’t refer only to stealing physical items; the goods in question may also include intellectual property and identity.
Burglary vs Robbery vs Home Invasion
As mentioned, burglary stands for illegally entering premises to commit a crime. This can be anything from stealing property to vandalizing the building. The perpetrators can use weapons and force to enter the building or rely on more constructive means, such as using a key to enter or tricking the owners into letting them in. In most states, it is classified as a felony offense.
When comparing robbery vs burglary, it is important to say that the former stands for taking or attempting to take the goods from the victim by using threats, force, or weapons. While it may be part of a burglary, it can also occur in the street and always involves confrontation with the victim. State laws typically consider it a severe offense, so it’s often classified as a felony.
Moreover, when considering robbery vs burglary in California, we can say that the latter has a shorter minimum sentence of imprisonment — it can result in felony probation or two to six years in prison. On the other hand, robbery may lead to misdemeanor or felony probation or three to six years of jail time. Finally, in terms of fines, offenders of both crimes may need to pay up to $10,000.
Home invasions are also a type of burglary, but they are more violent. Home invaders tend to be armed and are often focused on specific items or people within the building. They may use intimidation tactics, threats, or violence to get what they want.
Final Words on Robbery vs Burglary
These two terms refer to different offenses but are often used interchangeably; burglary stands for the unauthorized entrance of a building to commit a crime, while robbery involves using force or threats of force to obtain the property.
It is essential to understand the different aspects of these two crimes to stay safe and prevent them from happening. To learn more about them or receive advice on how to stay safe, make sure to speak with a trusted legal professional.
People Also Ask
What is aggravated burglary?
Aggravated burglary involves using a weapon or explosive during the act of stealing. One of the examples is breaking into a home with a gun. The punishments for this type of crime are more severe since it poses a greater risk to public safety. Offenders who commit this form of burglary face lengthy jail sentences and consequences such as fines and community service.
Is robbery a felony?
Yes, robbery is a felony. Under federal law, it means taking something of value from another person by force or threat of force. It is a severe offense, punishable by imprisonment, fines, restitution to victims, and other penalties. If you have been charged with robbery, it is crucial to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can help you understand the charges against you and the consequences.
Is burglary a felony?
Except for fourth-degree burglary, which is most often regarded as a misdemeanor, burglary is treated as a felony. This means it is punishable by a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines. Moreover, the punishment varies depending on the severity of the crime and the jurisdiction in which it occurred. In some cases, the severity may increase if the offender inflicted physical harm or possessed a weapon during the burglary.
Is burglary a violent crime?
There is no definitive answer to this question. However, a few factors may influence whether or not burglary is treated as a violent crime. These include the victim’s perception of violence, the severity of the crime, and whether or not the perpetrator used force.
An example of a violent crime is when a burglar uses weapons or other forms of physical violence against a victim. Cases in which the victim feels threatened or intimidated during a burglary incident can be regarded as violent crimes, too.
What is more serious, robbery or burglary?
In general, robbery is a more severe crime because it often involves violence or the threat of violence. Burglary, on the other hand, usually stands for unauthorized entry into a building or structure, and often when the occupants aren’t there, so it doesn’t necessarily include the use of violence. As such, penalties for the latter are usually more severe than for the former.
When comparing burglary vs robbery, the seriousness of a crime can vary depending on the situation and potential harm to victims. For example, if a firearm or another deadly weapon is involved, the jail sentence can be extended to 15 years.