The terms theft, burglary, and robbery are often used interchangeably, but they are actually hold very different legal meanings. They also have dramatically different consequences depending on the specifics of each crime. To better understand each of these terms and their differences, let’s break it down one-by-one.
Definition: the action or crime of stealing with the intent to deprive temporarily or permanently the owner of its use.
Legally, theft has many variations including money, physical objects, services, identity, etc. Depending on the value and type of the items stolen, one may be charged with grand theft. There are varying degrees of grand theft, depending on the quantity and value of items stolen. In Florida, if one takes more than $750 worth of property they could be charged with grand theft, a third-degree felony. If one takes more than $20,000 worth of property, it becomes a second-degree felony. If one takes more than $100,000 worth of property, it becomes a first-degree felony.
Definition: the taking property from a person using force or threat of force.
Robbery is typically the most dangerous and violent form of theft as it requires threats or force. Robbery takes many different forms including armed robbery, unarmed robbery, carjacking, etc. Actual violence or injury is not required in order to prove robbery. Simply, the threat of force is sufficient. Robbery is almost always a serious felony.
Definition: entering into a conveyance or structure illegally, without owner permission, with intent to commit a crime therein.
Burglary involves illegally entering into a vehicle, home, garage, etc with the intent to commit a crime. Burglary also takes many forms including conveyance (car, truck, boat, RV), structure (carport, garage) and dwelling. Actual theft or taking is not required so long as the intent to commit the crime exists.
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