If you or someone you know has been charged with robbery or burglary, it's important to understand the difference between the two crimes. While they may seem similar, there are significant differences that can impact the charges, potential penalties, and defenses that can be used in court. In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between robbery and burglary and discuss what you can do if you've been charged with either crime.
Robbery vs. Burglary: What’s the Difference?
Robbery and burglary are both property crimes, but they differ in a few key aspects. Robbery is the act of taking someone else's property by force or the threat of force. This means that the offender uses violence or the threat of violence to intimidate or overpower a victim into giving up their property. On the other hand, burglary is the act of entering someone else's property with the intent to commit a crime, usually theft. This means that burglary can occur whether or not the victim is present, and there is no threat of violence or use of force involved.
One important factor to consider in distinguishing between robbery and burglary is the level of intent required for each crime. Robbery requires the defendant to have the specific intent to use force or the threat of force to take property from the victim. In contrast, burglary requires the defendant to have the general intent to commit a crime, but not necessarily the intent to use force. This means that a burglary charge can be brought even if the defendant didn't plan to use force or even encounter the victim.
Another important aspect to consider is the potential penalties for each crime. Because robbery involves the use or threat of violence, it is generally considered a more serious crime than burglary. Robbery is typically charged as a felony and carries much harsher penalties, including long prison sentences and hefty fines. Burglary, on the other hand, can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. The severity of the charges and penalties will depend on factors such as whether the burglary was committed in a home or business, the value of the stolen property, and the defendant's prior criminal history.
What Should I Do if I've Been Charged with Robbery or Burglary?
Being charged with robbery or burglary can be a serious ordeal. When accused of any type of theft crime, a lot of questions may come to your mind, such as what consequences you might face, what steps to take next, or whether you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Below, we will discuss what you should do if you've been charged with robbery or burglary to help you navigate your way through the legal system:
- Remain Calm and Composed – The first thing you should do when charged with robbery or burglary is to remain calm and composed. It's natural to feel overwhelmed or distressed, but panicking will only make things worse. The criminal justice system can be intimidating but remember that you have the right to defend your case. Hence, keep your wits about you and don't speak or act impulsively.
- Respect Law Enforcement – When responding to a charge of robbery or burglary, it's crucial to show respect towards law enforcement. Be courteous and cooperative, even if you think you're innocent. Getting defensive or confrontational with the police will make them more suspicious and less likely to believe your side of the story. Besides, any aggressive behavior towards the police can be added to your charges.
- Get Legal Representation – One of the most important things to do if you've been charged with robbery or burglary is to get legal representation. A criminal defense lawyer can help guide you through the legal process and devise a defense strategy that might help you avoid or minimize the consequences. Your attorney will help you understand your options, develop a defense, and represent you in court.
- Gather Evidence and Documentation – Gathering evidence and documentation to support your defense is critical in any criminal case, including a case involving robbery or burglary charges. Compile any relevant information that can help prove your innocence or cast doubt on the prosecution's evidence. Keep receipts, bank statements, and any other documentation that might substantiate your claims. Your attorney may also conduct an independent investigation to uncover new evidence that supports your case.
- Follow Legal Advice – Once you have all the facts, details, and documentation, it’s essential to follow your lawyer's legal advice. By following your lawyer's recommendations, you stand the best chance of achieving the best possible outcome in your case. It's natural to feel emotionally attached to your case and want to fight it out in a court of law. Nevertheless, always trust your attorney's judgment and expertise as they have the most experience in navigating the legal system.
Common Legal Defenses for a Robbery or Burglary Charge
Some common defenses that may be used in robbery or burglary cases include:
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of intent
- Insufficient evidence
An attorney can review the specifics of your case and determine the best defense strategy for you.
Facing a Robbery or Burglary Charge? Contact Our Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys Today!
Robbery and burglary may seem similar, but they are distinctly different crimes. Understanding the differences between the two can be critical to building a strong defense and minimizing the potential consequences of a criminal charge.
If you or someone you know has been charged with robbery or burglary, don't hesitate to seek the help of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC. With the right legal representation, you can work towards a positive outcome and move forward with your life.