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The differences between theft, robbery and burglary

If you recently received property crime charges, it is important to understand exactly which charges you face so that you can more effectively build a strong defense. While many of the terms for various property crimes are used interchangeably in conversation by the general public, these charges all revolve around specific definitions that may entail a legal slap on the wrist or serious legal consequences including jail time.

No matter what evidence you believe the prosecution has against you, it is always wise to consult with an experienced attorney to explore your defense options. An attorney with years of experience and broad knowledge of both the law and the local legal system can help you build a strong defense to fight the charges while keeping your rights as an individual protected.

Theft and robbery

Theft and robbery are very similar, with one important distinction. Theft simply means taking property that belongs to someone else without that person's permission and without intending to return it. A simple example of this might be walking into a store, taking a bag of chips and walking out without paying for the chips.

Robbery, on the other hand, involves using force or some threat of harm when taking property or depriving someone of property. A similar example might be walking into a store, pushing an employee to the ground or striking the individual, then grabbing a bag of chips and running out the door. Any time that a person brandishes a weapon or implies he or she may have a weapon during theft, this is generally considered robbery.

What about burglary?

Burglary is an interesting property crime, because it does not always imply a theft. Burglary simply means entering into a structure unlawfully while intending to commit a crime inside. However, the crime one intends to commit does not have to be theft or robbery, it could be something else entirely.

Furthermore, even if a person does not actually commit an intended crime inside the structure, the act may still count as burglary. In fact, a burglary can occur even if a person enters a building through a standard entrance rather than breaking and entering, like walking through an unlocked door or simply entering a restricted area.

Protect yourself as soon as you can

Each day that you wait to begin building your legal defense is a day that your prosecution has to build their case against you even stronger.

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