What’s the Difference Between Burglary and Robbery?

Nobody wants to be the victim of a crime of any kind, so learning the distinctions between burglary and robbery may never have been at the top of your to-do list. But if you’ve just returned to your home after a weekend away and found your back window broken and your valuables gone, you’re about to be introduced to a whole new world. You have been the victim of a burglary, and as awful as it feels to find your space was invaded and your things taken, you can take some solace in knowing that being the victim of a robbery is far worse.

Despite the fact that people use the words robbery and burglary interchangeably, there are two main differences between the two and they make a world of difference. The biggest and most important difference for victims is that a robbery involves fear or force. In a robbery, something is taken (with permanent intent) directly from a person, without their permission and through the use of either force or intimidation. By contrast, burglary does not involve fear or force and does not even require something being taken. If somebody breaks into a home or a building with the intent of doing any kind of illegal act, it is considered a burglary.

The other difference between a burglary and a robbery is the location where it takes place. Where a burglary always involves entering a building to commit a crime, a robbery can take place anywhere. Think of bank robberies or muggings. Both involve force or fear, both take something, and they can take place on the street, in a structure, or anywhere else.

The other difference between the two lies in the way that the law treats those who commit each crime. The threat of force and use of intimidation are considered far more serious, and a person accused of robbery is likely to face a much stiffer sentence than a person who breaks into or unlawfully enters a building.

Understanding the difference between robbery and burglary is also important if you’ve been accused of a crime and need a strong defense. If you have been accused of robbery, you need representation by an attorney with a strong knowledge of criminal law. For more information, contact us to set up a time to talk.