What Is the Difference Between Robbery and Burglary?

In the State of Indiana, robbery and burglary have two different definitions, and if you have been accused of either, it is important to keep this distinction in mind. Burglary and robbery are often confused with one another, and many people believe that these crimes are synonymous, but they have different implications if you are charged.
Robbery” is the taking of property from another person unlawfully by threat of force. “Burglary” is when someone breaks into the dwelling or business of another, intending to commit a felony or theft while inside. Furthermore, there are a few different types of burglary, depending on whether the property was a residence or not, and whether anyone was injured during the burglary.

In Indiana, the categories of burglary and their potential prison sentences are as follows. All of these charges come with fines of up to $10,000:

  • Non-residence burglaries – Level 5 Felony – 1-6 years in prison
  • Residential burglaries – Level 4 Felony – 2-12 years in prison
  • If someone is injured during the burglary – Level 3 Felony – 3-16 years in prison
  • If the defendant used a deadly weapon – Level 2 Felony – 10-30 years in prison
  • If the defendant used a deadly weapon and serious bodily injury was caused – Level 1 Felony – 20-40 years in prison

If a person breaks into and enters someone’s home by any means with the desire to take something, they have committed burglary. If during the time the person is inside the home, the owner returns, and the burglar threatens the homeowner and steals something, the person has committed both burglary and robbery. Think of burglary as stealing from a structure, whereas robbery is stealing from a person, regardless of whether it occurred in a structure.

For robberies, there are fewer categorizations. Fines for robbery can also be up to $10,000:

  • Robbery – Level 5 Felony – 1-6 years in prison
  • Armed robbery – Level 3 Felony – 3-16 years in prison

A robbery will become an armed robbery charge when someone either uses or exhibits a deadly weapon or causes bodily injury to someone. If you are facing robbery charges, this distinction is important to your case as it can significantly affect how much prison time you could potentially face.

Both burglary and robbery are felony charges, which can carry mandatory minimum prison sentences if you are convicted. Felony charges stemming from robberies and burglaries can lead to life in state prison or long sentences. After your sentence is served, these convictions can leave you facing financial struggles because you have a felony on your criminal record.

Qualified legal representation, such as the Indiana criminal defense attorneys of The Criminal Defense Team, can help you to understand your legal options in the wake of a criminal charge for burglary or robbery. They will be able to gather the facts of a burglary or robbery case, understand your legal options, and craft the strongest defense possible against your burglary or robbery charge. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of a criminal case and will know how to strategize to maximize the possibility of reduced sentences or fines.

It is important to note that neither burglary or robbery is the same as the charge of “theft” or of “larceny.” Theft or larceny involves stealing property without breaking into a structure or by threatening a person with force or using force. Though all of these crimes involve taking property, each has different requirements, definitions, and penalties. Both petty theft or larceny carry jail sentences of less than one year, whereas both robbery and burglary are felonies that can put you in prison for a year or longer.

The legal system can be complicated, and serious crimes such as robbery and burglary require significant legal expertise to defend. Robbery and burglary are both felonies that can stay with you for the rest of your life.

If you have been accused of either of these crimes, you need knowledgeable and experienced legal representation on your side. The Indiana lawyers of The Criminal Defense Team have handled a large variety of criminal cases, including burglary and robbery. We have successfully defended clients across Indiana, and we can lend our expertise to your case as well.

Give the Indiana lawyers of The Criminal Defense Team today at (317) 687-8326, or fill in a contact form on our website for a free initial consultation and to discuss your legal options. Our offices are located in Franklin, Noblesville, and Indianapolis for your convenience.