When discussing the various forms of property crimes, it is very common to hear the terms robbery and burglary used interchangeably. It is not uncommon for a person to say they were “robbed” when a thief broke into their home or vehicle and stole their personal belongings. While burglary and robbery are related in the sense that both acts typically revolve around specific theft acts, they are, in fact, different charges that depend on the intentions surrounding such acts.
Burglary Vs. Robbery
There are a number of factors that differentiate burglary charges from robbery charges, but one of the most distinct differences between the two is the issue of theft. On its own, theft is the act of taking someone’s property without their consent, while robbery is taking such property with threatening force. Whereas robbery is officially defined as the intentional, conscious, and reckless seizing of property from another individual by use or the threat of force, burglary refers to the unauthorized entry into a premises, with the intent to commit a theft or other felonies—not just robbery.
Burglary is not tied exclusively to theft intent. For example, a person can break into a home or vehicle with the intent to commit a variety of crimes, including violent acts and vandalism. The offender would likely be charged with burglary, but additional charges may apply depending on the specific crimes that were committed while on property.
Criteria for Sustaining Charges
The State must prove two main propositions to convict someone of robbery. First, there must be evidence that the defendant knowingly took property from the victim, and second, that they did so through the use of force. The use or threat of force is not a factor in burglary charges, although a defendant is still held responsible for using force or dangerous weapons when breaking and entering a property without permission.
For example, if a defendant breaks into a home while armed with a weapon, and proceeds to use that weapon in a threatening manner to steal belongings, the defendant will likely be charged with a combination of burglary and armed robbery offenses. Consider a separate example where a defendant is found to have been invited in or to have entered without criminal intent when facing burglary accusations. In this case, even if a theft eventually took place, the defendant may be considered “authorized” to enter the property, so burglary charges may not be sustainable.
Contact a Property Crimes Defense Lawyer
In short, not all burglars commit robbery, but each charge involves an offense that that violates the victim’s will in some way, whether it involves the invasion of their home or personal space with criminal intent or threatening force. If you are facing theft, robbery, or burglary charges, it is time to speak with a knowledgeable Wheaton criminal defense attorney. Call 630-933-8400 for a free initial consultation today.