Burglary or Robbery Charges? How the Two Crimes Differ

 Posted on December 14, 2016 in Robbery

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal law, Illinois criminal lawyer,When discussing the subject of the various forms of theft, it is very common to hear the terms robbery and burglary used interchangeably. Many times, someone will 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 and can mean different things, depending on the intentions surrounding such acts.

Burglary vs. Robbery

There are a number of differentiating factors that separate 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 of threatening force, burglary refers to the unauthorized entry of a premise of some sort, with the intent to commit a number of offenses - not just robbery.

Burglary does not exclusively go hand-in-hand with theft intent. For example, someone can break into a home or vehicle with the intent to commit all kinds of crimes, including violent acts or forms of vandalism. The offender would be charged with burglary, but additional charges may apply depending on the specific crimes that were committed while on the property.

State Criteria for Sustaining Charges

The state must prove two main propositions to charge someone with 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 threatening force. The use of threatening 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, is armed with a weapon, and proceeds to use that weapon in a threatening manner to steal belongings, the defendant will experience a combination of burglary and armed robbery charges. If the defendant is found to have been invited in or to have entered without criminal intent when facing burglary accusations, they are considered “authorized” to enter the property.

In short, not all burglars commit robbery, but each crime involves committing an offense against someone that violates their 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 potential theft, robbery, or burglary charges, it is time to speak with a knowledgeable Chicago robbery and burglary defense lawyer. You will need a highly skilled attorney to represent you and protect your rights in a court of law as you move forward with your case. Call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today at 312-629-0669 for a personal consultation.

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