For many people, the words “burglary,” “robbery” and “theft” mean pretty much the same thing. After all, a burglar breaks into a Ft. Myers business or home to rob it, right?
Legally, this is not correct. Under Florida law, burglary and robbery are separate crimes. You can commit robbery without committing burglary, and vice versa. And robbery is a type of theft crime, but these words are not interchangeable either.
Burglary is the crime of entering or occupying a premises belonging to someone else with the specific intent to commit a crime inside. Often, theft is the intended crime, but any crime will do. Common examples include vandalism and arson. Thus, we see that burglary technically is not a theft crime at all. The entering of the property with the intent to break the law is what matters.
Does robbery = theft?
That brings us to the difference between robbery and theft. Theft is the taking of someone else’s property with the intent of depriving them of that property permanently. As we said above, robbery is a type of theft through violence or the threat of it. It almost always requires the victim to be present at the crime scene, and the perpetrator often uses a weapon. Think of the differences between a mugging and shoplifting.
Whatever you are charged with, take it seriously
Burglary is a felony in Florida, as is robbery. Some theft charges are misdemeanors, but you still could face up to a year in jail if convicted. The charges can be especially serious if you are accused of using a gun or other weapon. It is very important for someone charged with one of these crimes to work with an experienced defense attorney.