Is there a difference between robbery and burglary? Often, people use these terms interchangeably in conversation. Sometimes, even the news blends them together.
However, they are by no means the same thing. In fact, these two crimes carry quite separate consequences. Below, our criminal defense attorneys break down the difference between these two charges.
What Is Burglary?
Under Texas law, specifically Penal Code 30.02, someone commits burglary when they enter a building or structure without the consent of the owner, intending to commit a felony, assault, or theft.
An interesting aspect of this law is that it does not require either forcible entry or for someone to steal anything. If you simply enter a home that does not belong to you with the intent to commit a crime, it’s possible to face burglary charges. The same is true whether you enter through a door or a window.
For example, say someone opens a window and looks around inside a house with a flashlight hoping to steal something but runs away before they touch anything. While they did not take anything, it can still result in a burglary charge.
One important difference between robbery and burglary is that burglary charges do not require a threat or act of violence. In many cases, the victim of burglary isn’t even present at the time. That is a key difference between these two charges.
What Counts as Robbery in Texas?
Per Texas Penal Code 29.02, someone commits robbery in the course of a theft if one of these two factors applies.
- The person intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causes bodily harm to another person.
- They knowingly or intentionally threaten someone or puts them in fear of bodily harm or death.
Essentially, robbery is theft with the use of fear or physical force. However, while the courts consider robbery a violent crime, the victim does not have to sustain an actual injury for the person to face the charges.
For instance, if someone threatens to set fire to a store if the clerk doesn’t open the register, it constitutes robbery. Similarly, knocking someone to the ground in order to take their bag is another form of robbery.
However, robbery does not require an unlawful entry. This is a crucial difference between robbery and burglary charges.
The Consequences of These Two Charges
The consequences of these charges vary widely. Often, this depends on the facts of the case and whether there are aggravating factors.
- Burglary of a building no one resides in is punishable with up to 2 years in state jail.
- Burglary of a home or habitation is a second-degree felony, resulting in 2-20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- Burglary of a habitation other than theft (attempted or another offense) is a first-degree felony that results in 5 years to life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Robbery is a second-degree felony with 2-20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Aggravated robbery is a first-degree felony, punishable by 5 years to life in prison and up to $10,000 fines. Aggravating factors include the following.
- Causing serious bodily harm
- Using or exhibiting a deadly weapon
- Threatening bodily injury or death to a person who is disabled or over 65 years old
Call On an Advocate
If you need more information on the difference between robbery and burglary, contact our team today. When you face charges as severe as these, you need an advocate on your side. Work with a criminal defense attorney who understands the law.
At your consultation, we can discuss the allegations, potential consequences, and potential defenses. Schedule your legal consultation today.