Is Robbery and Burglary the Same?
People often get confused between robbery and burglary and often lump them together. They believe that the two can be used interchangeably when talking about the violation of taking someone’s property, but that’s not the case.
Criminal defense lawyers in Colorado explain the differences between robbery and burglary and how the charges can affect you. They can also guide you in defending yourself based on specific charges.
What is Robbery?
Robbery is attempting to take or actually taking anything valuable from someone by force or violence. It may also entail instilling fear of force in the victim, meaning that nothing has to be actually stolen for robbery to happen. The typical elements of theft include the following:
- Taking something valuable like money or property
- Directly from a victim
- Without their consent
- With the intention of keeping what you take permanently
- Using force or intimidation
Robbery is in two forms:
- Armed robbery: Includes the use of a weapon
- Strong-arm robbery: The offender attempts to exploit their physical strength to commit robbery
Robbery is violent in its technique and is considered more serious than theft. A conviction can get you a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A skilled felony crime lawyer in Colorado Springs can represent you in court to help you fight the charges.
What is Burglary?
Burglary entails entering a building illegally to commit a crime while inside. The crime involves the following key elements:
- Gaining illegal entry into
- A building, often a home or business
- With the intention to commit a felony or steal something while inside
In the past, burglary was associated with forcibly breaking into a person’s home at night. The burglary statutes are nowadays generally broader. You can be charged with burglary for entering any building unlawfully at any time and intending to commit a crime once inside. Skilled felony crime attorneys in Colorado can defend you against the charges.
Types of Burglary
The law recognizes three types of burglary, namely:
Domestic burglary is burglary of a dwelling that happens when an offender enters a building where people live. The building, in this case, can be a house, flat, vehicle, or boat in which the victim lives. It can also be a domestic outhouse or garage if linked to a home. The maximum sentence you can get upon a conviction is 14 years.
This form of burglary happens on premises other than a dwelling. It refers to a burglary in shops and offices. Burglary can happen when a person lawfully enters a home or other premises but then accesses an area where they don’t have permission to be and steals something.
For example, if you steal items on display from a shop, that would be theft. However, if you enter the storeroom and steal something, that would be burglary. The maximum sentence is ten years.
The offense happens when the offender has any firearm, imitation firearm, weapon of violation, or explosive at the time of the burglary. If you used a weapon to attack your victim at the property where you committed the crime, you could be charged with an assault offense or robbery. Upon conviction, the maximum sentence for aggravated burglary is life imprisonment.
Possible Levels of Burglary
Burglary can be classified into varying degrees and levels, with level one being the most severe:
- Level 5 is the basic definition of burglary
- Level 4 burglary happens when an offender enters a building that was a dwelling
- Level 3 is when the offense results in physical harm to the victim
- Level 3 burglary is when a deadly weapon is involved or the victim sustains severe bodily harm
- Level 1 is when the accused enters a building where people live and causes severe bodily injury to someone
In all these levels, “breaking and entering” is a required element of burglary. Lesser forms of burglary can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. As a misdemeanor, a burglary conviction has less severe penalties, such as jail custody for six months to one year. Let a felony crime lawyer in Colorado Springs help you beat the charges.
What Are the Outstanding Differences Between Robbery and Burglary?
The primary difference between robbery and burglary is that the former crime involves taking someone else’s property by force, a threat of force, or violence.
Burglary requires entering a building intending to take something without necessarily using force, threats, aggression, or violence. The elements of burglary are:
- You must have entered a building or structure with the intent to steal
- There is no focus on your behavior or level of hostility
Take note that if you stroll into someone’s home with the desire or intention to steal something, you have committed burglary. If the homeowner catches and confronts you and you attack, threaten, harm, and take something from them, you have committed robbery and burglary at the same time.
Overall, robbery is an offense of violence, while burglary is a property offense. In investigating the cases, police often have an easier time with robbery cases because there is a witness. Burglary often happens without the victims seeing it.
Seek the Guidance of an Experienced Legal Counsel
If you’re facing a robbery or burglary charge in Colorado, it’s never too late to start working with experienced criminal defense attorneys. They can support you in court and help you create a strong defense for the charges. They can also provide the legal counsel you need to help you understand your risks and options.
Our lawyers can help you understand the differences between a robbery charge and a burglary case. That way, you will be better positioned to defend yourself in court. Contact The Lux Law Firm at 719-496-2177 to schedule a FREE in-depth consultation.